Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Euro Trench Trash

What is the deal with Europeans wanting to dump things in our ocean? Back in July we heard about the Deep Storage Project in which Danish conceptual "artist" Kristian von Hornsleth announced plans to dump a 5 meter tall "monument" containing hair and blood samples into the Mariana Trench.

Now Alfa Romeo's new marketing campaign has a billboard being dumped into the Trench, the "lowest point on Earth," to showcase how low their prices are. The stunt has been captured in a six minute video on Youtube, meant to draw attention to their cars in advance of January's 2010 European Motor Show in Brussels.

Here is the video:

Alright, first things first. This stunt is a farce. A fake. Made up. Never happened.

Challenger Deep, the point where the Mariana Trench plunges to 11,000 meters below sea level, is 200 miles from Guam, not 21 miles like they say in the video.

mariana trenchFurthermore, the boat used to dump the Alfa Romeo billboard into the ocean does not look like it was outfitted for the 400 mile round trip expedition to Challenger Deep.

I'm not sure if I'd feel comfortable losing site of land in that boat, never mind going to the edge of the United States Exclusive Economic Zone.

The underwater camera supposedly used to capture the billboard at the bottom of the trench is also woefully inadequate for such a stunt. I've seen Japanese tourists with more expensive camera housings than that.

Who are they trying to kid? Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution visited Challenger Deep earlier this year and I remember their boat being a little bigger than a 20-foot dive charter.

woods hole mariana trench submersibleThey had a better camera, too. Compare the camera setup Alfa Romeo used versus the camera Woods Hole used (the giant yellow thing in the photo).

And one more thing. This is what 7 miles of fishing line looks like. This is the longline fishing reel from the Lady Carolina, the boat I chartered to the Northern Islands. This reel wouldn't have even fit in the boat chartered by Alfa Romeo.

Like I said, this stunt is a farce. A fake. Made up. Never happened.

No harm done, right? Wrong. This marketing campaign reinforces the idea that there is nothing wrong with dumping in the ocean. Earlier this year when I visited the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument I found islands covered in marine debris.

maug marine debrisMaug was particularly bad. This is one of the most remote places on Earth, a 44-hour boat ride away from the nearest port. Yet, there it was covered in bottles and derelict fishing gear.

Marine debris kills wildlife and is an eyesore when it washes ashore. It has a huge impact on our way of life, especially our tourism industry. What tourist wants to play on a litter covered beach?

My sentiment doesn't come from being a liberal, tree hugging hippie trying to protect a few turtles from eating plastic bags. I've spent thousands of hours coordinating island cleanups and I am simply tired of cleaning up other people's messes. And it annoys me to no end when people from other places reinforce the idea that there is nothing wrong with throwing their crap in my ocean.


KAP said...

Mmm. How about mailing trash to them? Or a fish. On the slow boat.

KAP said...

I used to know a hippy tree-hugger

The Saipan Blogger said...

Alfa Romeo sleeps with the fishes...

C.R. Hays said...

Really interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing your righteous indignation. Keep up the hard work!!

Deece said...

Jerks! For thinking it was cool and also for lying about it.