Plastic debris in the Earth's waterways is often mistaken for food sources by sea life. Photo: tropicalblendsurf via
Plastic debris in waterways is often mistaken for food by aquatic life. Photo: tropicalblendsurf/

Each year, the United States throws away enough plastic bottles to circle Earth four times. In her recent documentary, Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, sports announcer Angela Sun discusses the massive patch of plastic floating in the ocean known as the North Pacific Gyre. The plastic waste threatens marine life, and some experts fear that it will pollute our oceans indefinitely.

But some forward-thinking problem-solvers see new potential in this growing problem. Adopting the mentality of “if you can’t beat them, join them,” they’re using non-biodegradable plastics to create floating habitats and, in some cases, entire islands. According to the people creating these amazing artificial islands, this is a logical and sustainable way to combat climate change and ocean pollution.

The idea is grandiose. But two visionaries in the Netherlands and Mexico are pulling it off. Read on to see the progress they’re making.

Next page: Plastic Islands and Villas in the Netherlands