There are several huge patches of plastic garbage floating in the world’s oceans, and now Plastic Oceans Foundation in partnership with LadBible is trying to turn one of those garbage patches into a country: The Trash Isles.

The group has submitted an application to the United Nations this month to recognize The Trash Isles as the world’s 196th country. In order to be officially recognized as a country, The Trash Isles must do four things:

1) Define a territory. While the garbage patch under consideration is somewhat amorphous, it is a fairly well-defined area in the ocean.

2) Form a government. That one’s easy.

3) Interact with other states. Also easy.

4) Have a population. The Trash Isles already has at least one citizen: Al Gore. And the country-wannabe is actively soliciting other people interested in becoming citizens.

Michael Hughes and Dalatando Almeida have already designed a passport, stamps, and currency–known as Debris–for The Trash Isles, so if the UN approves the petition, the country is good to go.

The UN environmental charter states that all members shall cooperate in the spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect, and restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystem. So by becoming a country, others will be obliged to help clean up The Trash Isles. This will be the only country whose goal is to get smaller.

The goal of this… performance art? Activism? Country-making? … is to raise awareness about the gigantic plastic pollution problem we have on this planet, including the 8 million tones of plastic we dump into the ocean every year.

For more on the effort to create this new country, check out The Trash Isles web site at LadBible.