As our plastic trash seems to mount higher on the Earth and show up increasingly in the sea, people are turning to creative ways to make people more aware of this growing issue. A New Zealand collaboration of the biggest youth groups and programs across the country recently launched the Plastic Bottle Kayak Expedition to increase awareness of the toxic effects of plastic pollution, in which they rode kayaks made of plastic bottles and bamboo 100 km down the Whanganui River, one of the 9 New Zealand Great Walks.
From May 12-14, a group of 15 young adults representing various movements and organizations took the journey in their upcycled plastic bottle kayaks, recording the journey as they went, from the beginning as they constructed the kayaks. Each vessel was comprised of about 200 2-liter plastic bottles and nearly 70 feet of bamboo. Fun fact: the average American consumes roughly 232 of these same bottles annually.
To sum that up: almost all the plastic bottles you consume in a year can construct an entire kayak that will carry someone down the Whanganui River on a journey that will take 3-4 days. No big deal.
The goal of these intrepid young people in this experiment is to inspire others to think about their consumerism when it comes to plastic, and try to make more ethical choices in terms of sustainability and waste reduction. If it can be reused, reuse it; if it can be recycled in any way, make an effort to do so. Because humans are what causes plastic pollution, our lives really do depend on us taking action and doing our part to start cleaning it up. Check out the sneak preview of the Plastic Bottle Kayak Expedition 2013.
Image via Horia Varlan