Every year, millions of plastic waste materials and illegal fish nets find their way into the ocean, not only polluting our waters but killing millions of marine mammals and birds. Their impact on the environment is catastrophically hazardous to life on planet earth, something Adidas hopes to change for good through their latest running shoe that is made entirely from ocean trash.

Adidas proposed to make a complete functional shoe using nothing but ocean trash. The shoe maker even proceeded to make a prototype of the shoe and exhibit it to the public last week. The upper shoe was made from recycled plastic while the colorful accent was created from the threads from green gill nets.

To make the shoe, Adidas partnered with Parley for the Oceans, a conservation organization that advocates for cleaner oceans by reduced waste dumping. The basic materials for the shoe were retrieved after a 110-day excursion into the ocean, just off the coastline of Africa. The plastic was collected from the ocean depths while the gillnets were tracked down much closer to the coast line, indicating a rampant use of illegal gillnets.

Water pollution has reached unprecedented highs in the recent years. Researchers have estimated that over 4.8 billion metric tons of harmful plastic waste get dumped into the ocean every year. UNESCO, in a 2006 report, estimated that there were over 75,000 pieces of plastic debris floating per square mile of ocean cover.

As the non biodegradable waste keeps piling up year after year, our seas and oceans have become death traps for millions of marine mammals and birds. UNESCO estimates the fatalities at over a million seabirds and over 100,000 sea mammals yearly. The figures are staggering! Should the situation persist, it would only be a matter of time before future generations grow up in a world devoid of fish, something Adidas and Parley for the Oceans hope to avoid with the new ocean trash shoe.

Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley for the Oceans said, “We’re going to end ocean plastic pollution only if we’re going to reinvent the material. Plastic doesn’t belong in nature, it doesn’t belong in the belly of a fish, it doesn’t belong out there. The ultimate solution is to cut into this ongoing stream of material that never dies, is to reinvent plastic.”

Awareness is growing for the plight of our oceans. In this day and age, focus has moved from getting the waste out of the oceans but also finding useful ways of using the waste, without harming the environment. The Adidas ocean trash shoe is a classic example of how human genius can be directed toward conservation of the environment rather than destroying it.

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