A team in Kenya is building a boat from recycled plastic planks, which they hope to sail to South Africa when it is ready, SKY News has reported
A team in Kenya is building a boat from recycled plastic planks, which they hope to sail to South Africa when it is ready, SKY News has reported.
British-Ethiopian safari organiser Ben Morrison and Ali “Skanda” Abdalla, a master boat builder, have designed a traditional dhow, a sailing boat, made from recycled plastic.
They hope that by using plastic planks from the local recycling industry to build the boat, they can offer a market to recyclers, remove plastic pollution from the ocean, and persuade locals of the harmful effects of deforestation in the area.
Morrison, who is working with eight expert Kenyan boat builders, said the project was proving difficult is it isn’t easy to produce a consistent material out of the recycled plastic.
Often the planks from the factory arrive full of air bubbles, which can’t be used to build with and so have to be sent back to be re-made.
Kenya has introduced one of the world’s toughest action plans against the problem of plastic pollution.
For example, a punishment of four years in prison or a $40,000 fine can be given to anyone using a plastic bag.
The African nation joins over 40 other countries banning, partially banning or taxing single use plastic bags, including fellow Commonwealth African country Rwanda.
Plastic pollution is a growing global problem, with estimates from the UN showing that there will more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050, unless drastic action is taken.
Bags dumped or that have drifted into the ocean strangle and suffocate turtles and seabirds, and dolphins and whales who eat the bags, mistaking them for sea life, die of starvation.
Morrison said that it was seeing the level of plastic pollution on the beaches of Kenya’s paradisiacal Lamu island that drove him to act.
He added that it was getting harder and harder for boat builders to find wood for their work, so the project also seeks to allow the ancient skills of boat building to live on by shifting from the increasingly scarce resource to plastic.
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