A few months ago, environmentalist David Suzuki noted in his column that humankind is dumping eight million tonnes of plastic into the oceans every year.
"Plastic is everywhere in our seas," Suzuki wrote in February. "It accumulates on the sea floor and in sediments, washes up on coastlines and is taken up by fish and other sea creatures. It affects birds, fish, mammals and other marine life. It eventually breaks down into smaller bits, which can look like fish eggs and get eaten by marine animals, but it never biodegrades."
Three-year-old B.C.-based nonprofit Upcycle the Gyres Society wants to fight marine plastic pollution with a 800-person concert this summer in Vancouver's Stanley Park—and it could become an annual festival.
The city's FEST committee has already rubber-stamped the proposal, which goes to the park board for a vote on Monday (May 11). Park board staff are recommending that commissioners approve the plan.
According to a park board staff report, the concert would take place at the Prospect Point picnic area field on July 4 from 1 to 8 p.m.
"In order to generate funds to implement initiatives aimed at informing, preventing and cleaning-up marine plastic pollution, UpGyres has requested approval to host an inaugural Clean Up the Ocean concert at Prospect Point Picnic Area Field in summer 2015," the report states. "Funds raised from this initiative will be used to purchase, install, and operate plastic to fuel machines in remote coastal communities, and for research and development of technologies supporting plastic pollution recovery, and zero emissions, zero waste vessels. The event will also raise awareness of plastic waste and its damaging effects on the marine environment and promote actions to combat this issue. If successful, this concert initiative could become an annual summer event."
Tickets for the event, which would feature "live and DJ music performances, vendor kiosks, information booths, and food services", are expected to cost around $50.
"The Clean Up the Ocean concert is a fundraising initiative that will contribute to raising awareness of the impacts of plastics in our oceans and beaches, and promote caring for the environment," the staff report says. "Through its execution, the event will also activate an important public space and enhance the vibrancy of the city. Staff have carefully reviewed the many aspects of this special event application with the organizers and are confident that the initiative can be executed successfully."
On its website, UpGyres says its goals are to raise awareness of the "plastic fields" in every ocean, to develop the "technology, equipment and methodology" to prevent plastic from polluting the oceans and to recover plastic from the oceans, and to bring in "solutions for transforming discarded plastics into resources and revenue streams".
One of the society's stated purposes is "To create and develop the new industry of marine plastic harvesting; for upcycling plastic deposits into high-value resources, including and not limited to sweet, light crude oil, low emissions fuels, products, textiles and 3D printer stock".