Norfolk

Norfolk river group builds boat from plastic waste

Boat made of single-use plastic Image copyright Thetford River Group
Image caption Dozens of plastic bottles were re-used to make the boat

A conservation group has built a boat out of discarded plastic waste to raise awareness of river pollution.

The vessel was fashioned from dozens of empty water bottles recovered from the River Thet in Norfolk by the Thetford River Group.

About 1,000 items of litter are fished out of the water every month by the group.

Founder Sean Ready said he wanted to "educate people about the wastage of single-use plastics".

He paddled the boat on its maiden voyage at Thetford River Day, where he said it a proved a success in highlighting the group's work.

"Everybody was anticipating it sinking when I got on, but I managed to keep upright. We had lots of people asking about it afterwards, and what we do," he said.

Image copyright Thetford River Group
Image caption The boat made its first voyage at Thetford River Day

Mr Ready, who founded the group two years ago, said people were increasingly aware of the damage done by plastic entering waterways, particularly when it began to break down.

It took him 10 hours to make the boat, using landfill-bound water bottles donated by a local company for the base, with the remainder built from plastic litter.

A sail for the boat was made from bread bags - about 20 of which are found in the river every month.

Image copyright Thetford River Group
Image caption Sean Ready used discarded bread bags to fashion a sail for the boat

"People come down to feed the ducks and swans, and then they throw the bag into the river," said Mr Ready.

He said studies of insect life on the river had shown that caddisfly larvae, which usually make themselves a protective case from natural materials, had been using microscopic plastic fragments instead.

Other rubbish the group has pulled from the river includes drug needles, road signs, and a shopping trolley from a supermarket that closed in 1974.

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