Humanity has a plastic bottle addiction – people around the world purchase one million a minute, and many bottles wind up in the ocean instead of recycling bins. Cameroon-based nonprofit Madiba & Nature is pioneering a creative use for all those polluting bottles: boats. They’re fabricating floating canoe-shaped crafts out of collected empties in an effort to prompt people to think differently about how they consume and dispose of plastic bottles.


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A group of students is transforming plastic trash into boats. They aim to promote a circular economy in Africa; according to their website: “…we want to help change people’s attitudes and bad habits on the management of plastic waste that degrades sensitive ecosystems.” One Green Planet reports Cameroonian Essome Ismael invented the boats.

Related: The world’s population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute

Madiba & Nature volunteers have gathered to pick up thousands of plastic bottles near Cameroon’s largest city, Douala, to use those bottles for what they call ecological canoes. The boats could help not just the environment, but the local community as well. In a video, Ismael said there’s a great need for fishing boats in his area, and the plastic bottle boats could meet that need. Local fisherman Emmanuel Japa said at first they thought the plastic bottle boats were a joke, but it turns out the crafts are actually strong and seaworthy. Ismael also said plastic bottles clogging their waterways have led to flooding in the local area.

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The boats are just the beginning. Madiba & Nature’s website says in around a year of work, they’ve started a program for students and engineers to learn more about green business, and have developed an environmental awareness and education program. They’ve also helped develop a local waste management system and have supported other groups laboring to protect the environment. Their website also says they aim to research how to use recycled plastic in building or paving systems.

+ Madiba & Nature

Via One Green Planet

Images via Madiba & Nature Facebook