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Panel Discussion: "The Garbage Patch State®"

4 June 2015
Panel Discussion: "The Garbage Patch State®"

Thursday, 4 June 2015, 16:30 - 17:30
Refreshments served from 15:30 p.m.
UNOG Library Events Room B-135
Palais des Nations, Geneva

The Garbage Patch State® is a nation invented by Italian artist Maria Cristina Finucci, who will be the key speaker at this UNOG Library Talk.

The Garbage Patch is one of the most serious forms of pollution caused by humankind. It is a territory that comprises five areas of man-made rubbish scattered in the North Pacific, South Pacific, North Atlantic, South Atlantic and Indian Ocean. The largest, discovered in 2009, called the Great Garbage Patch - also described as the Pacific Trash Vortex - is a gyre of marine debris in the central North Pacific Ocean.

Land-based sources - such as agricultural run-off, discharge of nutrients and pesticides and untreated sewage including plastics - account for approximately 80% of this debris. The Patch is characterized by exceptionally high concentrations of pelagic plastics, chemical sludge and other debris that have been trapped by the currents. As a result of photo-degradation, the garbage gets broken down into ever smaller pieces. As it disintegrates, the plastic ultimately becomes small enough to be ingested by aquatic organisms. In this way, plastic may become concentrated in neuston, thereby entering the food chain.

To better convey the existence of this intangible phenomenon, Cristina Finucci created WASTELAND, an artwork consisting of a system of concrete actions. These unfold through time and through various locations with the intent to disseminate a series of “clues” about the existence of the Garbage Patch State® on the international scene.

The official facebook page of this ambitious project announces that the Garbage Patch State has been recognized as a federal state with a “population” of 36,939 tons of garbage, with a performance at UNESCO on 11 April 2013. The State was discovered in 1989, it covers an area of 15,915,933 square meters, and its flag to wave is blue, like the oceans it pollutes.


Welcome Remarks:

  • Charlotte WARAKAULLE, Director, UNOG Library

Introductory Remarks:
  • H.E. Maurizio SERRA, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva

  • Maria Cristina FINUCCI, Artist, The Garbage Patch State
  • Gaetano LEONE, Chief, UNEP's Barcelona Convention/Mediterranean Action Plan Secretariat
  • H.E. Jorge LOMÓNACO, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva
  • Susan BROWN, Director, Global and Regional Policy, WWF International

  • Sigrun HABERMANN, Chief, Strategic Planning, Programme Evaluation and Outreach Section, UNOG Library


For those without a UNOG badge, registration for this event is obligatory.
Interested participants are invited to register on-line before 3 June 2015.


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