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Africa Month: Building a Plastic Bottle Boat in Kenya

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[February is "Africa Month" on 13.7 Billion Years, focusing on biodiversity, conservation, sustainable development and ethical consumption.]

Known as Kenya's oldest living town, Lamu is the largest town on Lamu Island, part of the Lamu Archipelago. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Lamu is one of the original Swahili settlements on the East African coast.

It is also the site of lots of plastic trash, thanks to irresponsible tourists. But one man decided to turn all that waste into something quite useful for this port town -- a boat.

According to AfriGadget.com, a website devoted to African ingenuity, this young man wakes up early in the morning and goes to the beach to collect plastic bottles that are either left by tourists or washed ashore from the sea. Using boiled tar, he seals the gaps with used slippers also collected from the beach.

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"Most marine debris found in the oceans is plastic, according to the Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP).

"This pollution harms and kills an estimated 100,000 sea turtles and marine mammals, and 1,000,000 sea creatures each year. Many marine animals, not just sea turtles, mistake plastic bags for food, ingest them, and are unable to digest them. As a result animals can suffer intestinal blockage, nutrient dilution, and may starve to death."

The plastic bottle boat of Lamu is not yet complete. And while this is a wonderful example of plastic waste recycling, hopefully Kenya's tourists will wise up and stop leaving more material for this young man's ingenious and commendable project.

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Reynard Loki is a New York-based artist, writer and editor. He is the environment and food editor at AlterNet.org, a progressive news website. He is also the co-founder of MomenTech, a New York-based experimental production studio whose projects (more...)
 

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