Lonely Planet Writer

Al Gore and Mo Farah have become honorary citizens of a new 'country' called the Trash Isles

Former vice president of the US, Al Gore, and British Olympic distance runner, Mo Farah, have become honorary citizens of a new ‘country’ called the Trash Isles.

Al Gore has become the honorary first citizen of a new ‘country’ called the Trash Isles. Image: LADbible Group

They are working in partnership with the London-based website LADbible and the Plastic Oceans Foundation, who have submitted a petition to the United Nations to recognise the Trash Isles as the 196th country on the planet.

Mo Farah is an honorary citizen of a new ‘country’ called the Trash Isles. Image: LADbible Group

They made the symbolic gesture of becoming honorary citizens because of the travesty of plastic in our oceans. Experts predict that by 2050, the problem will reach such epidemic proportions that there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. The Pacific Ocean has been polluted by plastic trash the size of France, for example, forming significant land masses in places where it is particularly dense.

The campaigners believe the solution to tackling this problem is for the UN to recognise the Trash Isles as an official country and award it the environmental protections offered to all member states. “Let’s come up with biodegradable materials instead of this junk,” Gore says. “50 billion tons over the last 60, 70 years. It’s completely outrageous. It is absolutely harming the oceans and actually some of it shows up in the fish people eat now. It’s disgusting.”

Campaigners want the UN to declare a mountain of trash a new ‘country’ called the Trash Isles. Image: LADbible Group

The Trash Isles launches with everything an official country needs – an official flag, currency called Debris, and passports created from recycled materials. “We are just getting started,” says Stephen Mai, head of marketing at LADbible Group. “There may well be a national anthem, general elections and even a national football team.”

The passport for a new ‘country’ called the Trash Isles – Illustration by Jurgen Willbart. Image: LADbible Group

The application has to be read by all members of the UN Council. If the Trash Isles becomes a country and a member of the UN, it will be protected by the UN’s Environmental Charters,. These state that all members shall “co-operate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the earth’s ecosystem.” This means that by becoming a country, other countries are obliged to clean up the Trash Isles.

Campaigners want the UN to declare a mountain of trash a new ‘country’ called the Trash Isles. Image: LADbible Group

Full details about how to get involved in supporting Trash Isles can be found here.