Sailing the docks on a plastic vessel
The world’s first recycled plastic boat has been launched on the Isle Of Dogs. Schoolchildren from Canary Wharf College were the willing guinea pigs for the maiden voyage of Poly-mer, a 12-seat punt.
She sailed into the uncharted waters of Millwall Outer Dock from Docklands Sailing And Watersports Centre with the passengers scooping plastic rubbish aboard.
The waste will be used to build more boats, creating a litterbusting fleet to be deployed across the UK.
Canary Wharf College executive principal Sarah Counter said: “When our pupils learn to sail on Millwall Dock they are shocked by the huge amount of plastic they see floating in the water.
“In spring they see birds laying their eggs in nests made of plastic.
“We are thrilled that more of them now will be able to go out together on this brilliant boat made from recycled plastic.”
Environmental charity Hubbub is behind the project. Chief executive and co-founder Trewin Restorick said: “80% of ocean plastic comes from land and travels from our hand to storm drain, river or seas.
“We built the Poly-Mer to turn part of the problem into a solution.”
The vessel was built by creator of the Queen’s barge Gloriana Mark Edwards MBE, who said it was one of his most demanding challenges to date. He used Plaswood, a hybrid of plastic and wood, held together by clenched copper nails invented two thousand years ago by the Vikings.
Poly-mer launched on Thursday, November 2, with medal-winning British Paralympic sailor Alexandra Rickham and environment minister Thérèse Coffey joining the schoolchildren on board.
The MP said: “This is an excellent and creative solution that demonstrates the damaging effect littering and plastics can have on our environment and wildlife.”
The boat will continue to be used by the College’s pupils and will be accessible to members of the public and businesses interested in taking part in plastic fishing trips.
Pupils at Canary Wharf College show off the rubbish they helped clean up using Poly-mer