Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Green New One

In the north Pacific, ocean currents spin in an invisible giant whirlpool, bumping up against the land masses east and west, while flirting with the chilly arctic waters to the north, and the warm equatorial waters to the south. This is the North Pacific Gyre. Sounding like a monster from ancient mythology, the North Pacific Gyre is a large system of ocean currents that roar unseen among some of the most beautiful ocean in the world.

But all is not well in the North Pacific Gyre. In the heart of the beast, between Hawaii and California, lies a floating jetsam stream of man-made debris, mostly plastic detritus, a byproduct of the modern world. Estimates are that 225 million pounds of plastic is floating in the Gyre , covering an area as large as Texas, which sounds like a Texas size claim in itself.

A group of Dutch architects have a plan to make lemonade from these petrochemical-based lemons. They are proposing to collect this plastic waste and recycle it to create a habitable floating island out in the Pacific ocean. It will be called Recycled Island. Obviously a lot of thought went into this concept, much more than went into the name, although since the Netherlands is known for its marijuana bars as well as its excellent beers, we can't be entirely sure of the origin of this idea. Nonetheless, this has to be the greenest idea to come along since I ate that baloney sandwich out of the vending machine that was a week out of date.

Recycled Island will include residential housing, agricultural land, beaches, and tourism outlets, all built with recycled plastic as the building material. Think Lego-land without the vibrant primary colors. There is a rumor that either Hedi Montag or Pamela Anderson will be the official spokesperson for Recycled Island and it's (recycled) plastic world.

But while Al Gore is busy calculating the carbon offset for Recycled Island, you're asking what does this have to do with Big Gun DXing and/or contesting? Well, once Recycle Island is afloat, it should most certainly qualify as a New One for DX purposes. Regardless of sovereignty, Recycle Island will qualify based on the separation criteria alone as a new entity, although if Recycle Island is truly free floating, it might prove a little problematic. But as long as it stays within a single ITU or WW zone, that shouldn't be a big problem.

While it might be argued that a floating mat of recycled plastic isn't really a land mass, most reasonable people would recognize Recycled Island as more of an 'entity' than a group of small rocks barely above sea level at high tide that require stilts to keep from getting your tuchas wet while working a pileup with one arm around a mast to keep from falling in the water.

A New One means a land rush of DXers ready to activate an All Time New One as soon as the melted plastic solidifies enough to walk on. There are rumors, the Finns have already reserved a boat to take them there first opportunity. Once it's officially a DXCC entity, it will become a multiplier for all the DX contests as well. This will insure a steady stream of DX tourists to make sure everyone gets that Recycled Island mult. In the spirit of things, I suggest all Recycled Island QSLs be printed on recycled card stock.

If this idea works out, don't be surprised to see more proposals floated for turning plastic waste into plastic islands. The IOTA gang will go nuts for this. Just think, an island DXpedition where you don't have to clean up your trash. Leave it behind so they can extend the beach out a bit. I suggest adding a little dune over there so we can make the beach topless.

It appears that Honolulu is having trouble finding a spot for all its trash. So Recycle Island has the potential for TONS of more raw material. Or perhaps there can be more than one Recycled Islands. We just have to make sure they are far enough apart to qualify as separate entities. There may be no limit to the number of DXCC 'countries' we can create.


  1. This makes at least as much sense as a "country," I mean "entity," as Scarborough Reef. As for a topless beach, just what we need to see is a whole bunch of DXpedition photos of man boobs on overweight slob DXers and contesters. If I remember right, much or most of the Pacific trash is plastic, old 6-pack rings and milk jugs and one dollar water bottles, which won't make much of a "ground" but that probably won't stand in the way of Team Vertical making an assault on the "island." The location is perfect for giving U.S. East Coast and European DXers something else to whine about not being able to work through the West Coast Curtain. But here on the Right Coast we already have our own Trash Island -- it's called "New Jersey." OK, so it's not an island, at least it has salt water beaches.


  2. We must speak up for Seaside Heights, New Jersey. As a callow yute we gamboled thereabouts, down to Island Beach State Park and up to Sea Girt, and we recall nothing but pristine sand, glassy surf and girls girls girls as far as our Foster Grants could resolve. Trash? We beg yuh pahwdon. Oh, the Jersey Shore flower might have been the busted Nedix bottleneck and the Jersey Shore Bird was Manasquan's Osprey, the Longest Bar in the World, but Paradise is more than the sum of its tar balls and petrifying sea robins garnished with styrofoam zest.

  3. If one can accept a plastic island as a DX entity, could one not extend the concept to include all sanitary landfills as onshore amateur radio countries? It would serve to democratize the traditionally elitist DXpeditionary ranks, allowing those of us without ready access to Zodiacs and Rent-a-Trawlers to transform our humdrum weekly dump run into something a little more diverting.

  4. At the very least, we can recognize these inland refuse centers with an award program - Worked All Sanitary Landfills (WASL). We currently recognize islands, lighthouses, summits and battleships. Another award to chase! The LIDS will be happy to sponsor this one. As appropriate of the venue, rotten operating and stinky behavior should be the norm.