REMARKABLE images from an environmental volunteer show how a mountain of plastic rubbish collected from the sea was turned into a custom-made kayak.
Helen Chadwick, from Perranarworthal, Cornwall, shared the images from a recent clean up operation where she and her team collected 3.9 tonnes of plastic from the ocean.
Helen is a volunteer with Clean Ocean Sailing, an organisation dedicated to cleaning up plastic waste found in the ocean.
The group decided to target the Isles of Scilly due its abundant wildlife, which is currently under threat from the levels of plastic washing up on its shores.
The expedition took place in February and saw the organisation collect 40 builders bags worth of plastic waste – including a US government marker buoy and water bottles from China.
The result was not only a reduction in the levels of ocean pollution, but Helen’s custom kayak – made entirely from waste collected on the trip.
Images from the trip show bags of plastic lids, bottles and ropes that were collected by the team and eventually recycled to produce Helen’s kayak.
One particularly shocking image shows enough bottle caps to fill the hull of a boat, all of which were collected during the two week expedition.
The rubbish was sent to Odyssey Innovate who hand sort, wash, shred and grind the plastic into a fine powder.
The powder is then poured into a mould, heated and set producing the sustainable kayaks which cost between £400 and £600.
Helen has already put her kayak to good use, paddling around Falmouth last week to collect more rubbish to be recycled and Clean Ocean Sailing plan to return to the islands to continue their work.
A spokesman for Clean Ocean Sailing said, “We plan to go back next year, but it’s really disheartening to have to go back to the same place every year and see it completely covered in crap all over again.”
Ocean plastic has hit headlines recently following warnings from the likes of Sir David Attenborough about the disastrous impact the pollution is having on marine life.
It is estimated that up to 12 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean each year, the equivalent of one rubbish truck full every minute.