Campaigners want a vast area of floating garbage in the ocean to be the world's newest country—and they've already got more would-be citizens than some real countries. Al Gore is on board as the first honorary citizen of the "Trash Isles," which is what activists are calling the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge part of the Pacific Ocean inundated with floating plastic trash, Reuters reports. "We want to shrink this nation. We don't want any more plastic added," Gore says. "The oceans are crucial to our survival and we need to protect them." More than 100,000 other people have signed a petition to become "citizens" and pressure the United Nations to accept the Trash Isles as the world's 196th country.
The petition, which says garbage clogs an area the size of France, states that nationhood would cause the Trash Isles to be covered by the UN's Environmental Charter, meaning other nations would be obliged to help clean it up, Quartz reports. The lead campaigners, two advertising professionals who have partnered with publisher LADBible and the Plastic Oceans Foundation nonprofit, have created a flag, passports, and even a Trash Isles currency, reports AdWeek. The currency, called "Debris," features seabirds, turtles, and other animals affected by what campaigners call an ongoing "environmental catastrophe." (Researchers say there are at least 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world's oceans.)