Celebrating World Ocean Day

Healthy Ocean means Healthy Planet

World Ocean Day is a special global day to celebrate our oceans and to work towards maintaining and improving their health and cleanliness. As the health of our oceans goes, so does the health of the entire planet. Oceans comprise about 71% of the surface of the earth. With their immense size, you may think that it is very hard to pollute our oceans. Well, we happen to be doing a pretty good job at polluting them. As if global warming wasn't damaging our oceans enough, we humans are putting a terrible toll on the health of oceans, adding incredible amounts of pollutants each and every year. Plastics in particular which take many years to break down, can have a devastating effect on marine life but with a little love and tinder care we can turn our oceans into clean and healthy oceans which translates to healthy marine life and so much more.

Recycled Oceanic Plastic

When you can combine two different things, such as a technology like 3D printing, with an infinite waste product, such as plastic found in the ocean. You're bound to create something entirely new with them and quite possible have the potential to make a real difference in the world. And that’s what The Plastic Bank is doing with their “Social Plastic” initiative.

In what’s considered to be a world’s first for both 3D printing and for recycled plastic from the ocean, The Plastic Bank has just created an item entirely with 3D printing filament made from recycled ocean plastic, right in time for World Oceans Day on June 8th.

This project, the latest in the organization’s movement to transform waste ocean plastic into 3D printing filament and in turn, to better the lives of some of the world’s poor with it, beginning first with a shoreline cleanup in Alaska, where waste plastic was ‘harvested’ from the ocean. After sorting, the plastic was sent to UBC and turned into 3D filament, which was then used at the Plastic Bank headquarters in Vancouver to print the first 3D item.

3D Printed Oceanic City

Climate change is undoubtedly one of the most pressing issues of our times, with pollution and greenhouses gasses contributing to a global warming phenomenon that's affecting us all. If our current lifestyles are becoming unsustainable in the face of this growing concern, alternative lifestyles are being proposed which aim for the lowest carbon footprint possible. Recently, Belgian architect and visionary Vincent Callebaut suggested a new urban design concept that emphasizes sustainability and puts a particular focus on the treatment of our oceans.

The futuristic and fictional city that Callebaut designed is called Aequorea, and was named after Aequorea Victoria, a type of bioluminescent jellyfish that the city’s structures also vaguely resemble. The city’s design is made up of conch shaped buildings constructed out of 3D printed plastic waste that emerge from the ocean and that extend 1,000 meters below the ocean’s surface. Callebaut has himself described the project as “an oceanscraper printed in 3D from the seventh continent’s garbage,” which references the island of garbage in the ocean created by humans. The project, in using plastic waste in its design is meant to highlight the crucial importance of keeping the world’s oceans clean and waste-free.

The structures and buildings of Aequorea would be constructed from a composite material made from algae and plastic garbage fittingly called algoplast, which would be 3D printed in order to create the city’s towers where residents could reside. Callebaut created Aequorea to emphasize just how important the earth’s oceans are to us and how we can begin to use them constructively rather than destructively and bring change to our lives and the lives within the ocean by using 3D printing technology.