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Plastic bottle raft helps highlight marine pollution problem in Italy

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Plastic bottle raft helps highlight marine pollution problem in Italy

Plastic bottle raft helps highlight marine pollution problem in Italy
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Credit: Raffaele Imbo
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This is the Italian who made a boat out of plastic bottles to highlight the problem of marine waste.

Raffaele Imbo, a film director, sailed his makeshift raft around the beaches of the volcanic island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples.

The 23-year-old collected around 1,000 plastic containers his family had used over the course of the last year.

It took him nearly three weeks to make the vessel in his back garden by attaching the bottles together with string.

“I wasn't expecting so much enthusiasm from people on the beach,” Imbo told Euronews. “Some of them bought food for me, others gave me some change.

“They realised the boat was eco-friendly as soon as they saw it and most importantly they got the message that a common family consumes ‘a boat of plastic’ every year.”

Imbo had planned to do a full circuit of the island but said his oars were not good enough.

But he remains pleased his day-long action on Monday had raised awareness.

“I feel very bad thinking about the numbers: every year at least eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the world's oceans.

“People need to be aware of the amount of plastic they use. And we can't avoid recycling.”

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said in July the Mediterranean was turning into a “dangerous plastic trap” and that there were “record levels of pollution from microplastics threatening marine species and human health”.

It said most of the plastic is released into the sea from Turkey and Spain, followed by Italy, Egypt and France.

“Large plastic pieces injure, suffocate and often kill marine animals, including protected and endangered species, such as sea turtles and monk seals,” said the NGO’s Rome office in a press statement.

“But it is microplastics – smaller and more insidious fragments – that have reached record levels of concentration of 1.25 million fragments per km² in the Mediterranean Sea, almost four times higher than in the 'plastic island' found in the North Pacific Ocean."

“By entering the food chain, these fragments threaten an increasing number of animal species as well as people.”