LA STAMPA (Italy)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - These are not the sorts of "islands" where you'd plan your next tropical vacation. Located in vast areas of the world's Oceans, by some accounts comprising an area twice as big as Texas, they are home to neither human nor animal life.

Instead these islands are instead simply monstrious spirals of trash.

And now, reports La Stampa, to bring attention to this epic example of man-made pollution, the United Nations' cultural and science agency UNESCO will designate the conglomerations of rubbish a veritable territory of its own. On April 11, the world will welcome a new "State" to be named Garbage Patch.

Garbage Patch comprises of five areas of man-made rubbish in the seas: North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, and Indian Ocean. The largest, discovered in 2009, is called the Great Garbage Patch or the Pacific Trash Vortex. Marine currents brings the rubbish together, swirling to the surface. The garbage gets broken down, thanks to photodegradation, into smaller and smaller pieces that are consumed by marine life, reentering the food chain.

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National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration

Spain-based Italian architect Maria Cristina Finucci, has led the effort to get the UNESCO, state designation. The official Facebook page declares that Garbage Patch will be a federal state with a population of 36,939 -- tons of garbage. The nation’s flag will be blue, like the oceans it pollutes.

“I found out about the tragic islands made of plastic, but they were treated lightly by the scientific community," says Finucci. "There were no photos and images are necessary to gauge the problem.”

Finucci believes that in creating a state, people will become more aware. “The only things that we can do now is to stop them from getting bigger,” she told La Stampa.

The initiative coincides with 2013 being declared the year of water. There’s a website for the Garbage Patch, run by students at prestigious Venetian University Ca’ Foscari, which aims explain the floating islands through fantastical characters similar to those of Greek mythology. There will also be postcards: “Greetings from the Garbage State” on a deckchair and umbrella.

The inauguration ceremony won’t take place on any of the islands itself, but at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris with a performance meant to recreate the islands: bottle caps on the floor, plastic bags everywhere, and even the sound of waves playing in the background.

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Geopolitics

Waiting For Putin: Is Ukraine Caught In New Kind Of Cuban Missile Crisis?

Will there, or will there not be a Big War with Russia? Ukrainians try to gauge what happens next as tensions remain following the call between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

Barbed wire near the Russia-Ukraine border

Valentin Sprinchak/TASS via ZUMA
Anna Akage

The two-hour conversation between the Presidents of the United States and Russia, to the surprise of virtually nobody, ended without any break in the tension. Both Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin spoke in clear and plain terms during the talk Tuesday, over a secured video link, as Russian troops have amassed at the Ukrainian border and the world fears the growing risk of an invasion.

Putin insisted that NATO missiles in the region are a red line, while Biden threatened to cut Russia out of the international financial system if Russia invades Ukraine. Another phone call, this time from Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, is planned for the end of this week.

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