Plastic-pollution battlers back on water

Plastic Bottle Kayak Herald

A group of young adventurers are taking to the water in some unusual kayaks in a bid to battle plastic pollution.

The Plastic Bottle Kayak team are about to embark on their second journey to remind people about the impact of plastic pollution on New Zealand rivers and oceans.

Two years ago, a group of 16 paddled 100km down the Whanganui River in four double kayaks made of plastic bottles.

They plan to tackle the Abel Tasman National Park in March and have mustered the support of the Museum of Transport and Technology [Motat] and singer-songwriter Jamie McDell.

Spokeswoman Florence Reynolds, 22, said the plastic-bottle team were still recruiting kayakers for next month's adventure and were involving schools and kindergartens by asking them to create messages to go inside the bottles.

Ms Reynolds first became aware of the issue while studying an environmental science paper at Auckland University which involved picking up plastic from beaches.

She thought two plastic bags would suffice, but she was shocked to find more and more pieces of plastic littering the seaside.

Now, fighting plastic pollution is one of her biggest passions and she has set up her own organisation called plasticdiet. She went on a plastic diet herself, which involved not using plastic for 12 months.

Christchurch University accounting student Luke Gillespie, 22, was part of the team who kayaked the Whanganui River in 2013. At the time, he didn't realise how much plastic waste there was.

"We learned a lot about how much plastic was used. We weren't all experts in how plastic was used when we went on the trip."

Motat is letting the crew use its premises to build their kayaks, which it hopes will inspire other young people to use technology and innovation for pollution awareness.

NZ Herald
Belinda Feek

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