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Plastic Bottle Boat Embarks On Journey Across Pacific

March 22, 2010

A boat made entirely out of plastic bottles set sail this weekend on a journey that will take the crew from San Francisco, California to Sydney, Australia — all the while spreading a message of conservationism along the way.

The Plastiki, a nautical craft build from roughly 12,000 CO2-filled plastic water and soda bottles and powered by solar, wind and sea turbines, departed from a yacht harbor in San Francisco Bay on Saturday.

Over the course of the next 100-plus days and 11,000 nautical miles, the four person crew of David de Rothschild, Jo Royle, David Thomson, and Olav Heyerdahl hope to draw attention to the amount of pollution present in the world’s oceans.

“It is time we beat waste and this is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind issue that needs to be addressed,” 31-year-old de Rothschild, who is providing updates on the Plastiki’s progress via his Twitter account, told BBC News prior to the launch.

The boat, which took more than four years to design and build, will have Internet access thanks to a laptop powered by an exercise bike. It also features a garden and a composting bathroom.

“We were thrilled to see such a great turn out from our local supporters who came down to the Marina to wish the Plastiki a safe trip, and the support we have had over the last few months online has also been a fantastic drive for all of the team,” the Plastiki team said in a statement on their official website. “So thank you to everyone who has been following and supporting us over the years ““ it means a lot and we hope to hear much more from you as the mission progresses!”

Not everyone is on board with the Plastiki’s mission, however, claims a March 21 BBC article.

“Critics say the expedition only perpetuates the belief that it is acceptable to use plastic as long as people recycle it, rather than encouraging people to cut down on its use entirely,” the British news media reports. “They also point out that if the Plastiki were to break apart mid-journey, it would dump thousands of bottles directly into the ocean.”

Image Caption: Plastiki sailing out of the harbor as it departs on it journey through the south pacific. Courtesy of Luca Babini/Plastiki

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