Sunday, September 25, 2011

Just a Castaway

Plastic Trash or Social Networking?

 ~ While the problem of plastic in the oceans is real, and serious, there is a tiny fraction both purposeful and amusing:
Over the last two decades, Harold Hackett has sent out over 4,800 messages in a bottle from Prince Edward Island, Canada's smallest province along the Atlantic coastline.

Every message asks for the finder to send a response back to Hackett, and since 1996 he has received over 3,100 responses from all over the world.
Go to the BBC webpage to see a video wherein Hackett talks about his hobby.

That's a pretty good response rate. I hope direct marketers don't seize on this for some kind of ill-considered promotion.

Responses have come from all around the Atlantic rim. Apparently, no bottles (as judged by responses) have yet made their way around Cape Horn or the Cape of Good Hope, much less through the Suez or Panama canals. Hackett checks the wind to ensure a good offshore blow before committing his jetsam, preferring winds from the west or southwest. As arctic ice disappears, he may yet send a bottle over the pole to a new destination.

The Ocean Spray Orange Juice and Cranberry Juice bottles have sometimes taken more than 10 years to reach someone and elicit a reply (Hackett includes his address but not his phone number in every bottle.)

It shows, among other things, how long plastic can take to break down.

(Yeah. I couldn't not include a message from the Police.)

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