A boat to be built using plastic waste

  • 02 Dec - 08 Dec, 2017
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

British-Ethiopian safari organiser Ben Morrison has decided to try designing a traditional dhow, or sailing boat, from recycled plastic, offering a market to recyclers and persuading locals to conserve shrinking woodland, after a resident organised a beach clean-up that collected 33 tons of rubbish in a single summer.

Forty-year-old Morrison said, “It is getting harder and harder for boat builders to find wood. I hope that this project will allow the ancient skills of boat building to live on, by shifting from ever-scarce wood to plastic.”

Morrison is working to build a boat with eight expert Kenyan boat builders by using plastic planks from the fledgling local recycling industry, and hopes to sail the boat to Cape Town in South Africa.

“We struggle to produce a consistent material out of the recycled plastic,” he said and added that it is not an easy job, for sometimes they receive plastic planks from the factory that are full of air bubbles and can’t build using them; therefore, they have to start from the beginning again.

Plastic pollution is a growing global problem, with patches of sea larger than some countries covered in plastic soup that strangles or poisons wildlife. The United Nations says that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish unless drastic action is taken.