Who thought that plastics would ever make anything close to a floating island resort? Most people didn’t. Plastics have acquired a bad name over the past decades. When left in the soil, they don’t decompose easily and could release poisonous substances into the soil. It’s not a good idea to burn them either. They may lead to the release of greenhouse gases that lead to climate change. When released into the sea, they also affect the aquatic organisms. According to a report by the UN environment programme, “Chlorinated plastic can release harmful chemicals into the soil, which affects groundwater, and subsequently entire ecosystems.” A lot of countries are enforcing measures to ban the use of plastics to reduce their accumulation on the surface of earth. But what happens to those that already exist?
Over 90% of plastic in never recycled, thus eight million metric tonnes of plastic wastes are discharged into the oceans in a year. Consequently, It is estimated that in 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Currently the Global Plastic Action Partnership aims to show how businesses can recover wastes and reuse them. One man by the name Eric Baker decided to reduce this menace by recycling plastic to build a floating island resort. This article focuses on the work of Eric Becker in Ivory Coast, how it started and its success.
The Man behind the Floating Island
Eric Becker is a French entrepreneur who mesmerized the world. He recycled plastic wastes and harnessed them to a floating island. Initially the plastic wastes floated in Abidjan’s lagoon in Africa dumped as wastes which polluted the water. Eric dreamed of having a leisure catamaran in Ivory Coast in 2012. As people saw wastes in the vast mass of plastic bottles on the lagoons shores, he saw a leisure village. He decided to control water and soil pollution by actualizing his long perceived dream.
He endured a lot difficulties in his journey. Mr. Becker explains how his activities gave him a nick name among the locals. Mr Bidon was the nickname, the word refers to a jerry-can or the other explanation is being phony. Initially they used to buy waste bottles from people at their homes. Later they started following the wind and find places where floating wastes stagnated.
It took Becker six years to collect the bottles, sandals and polystyrene, and evaluate their feasibility and strength. As youth venture into business in Africa, collecting ans selling these plastics could be a viable opportunity. The island resort is special since it floats on 700, 000 recycled bottles which are tightly packed in boxes. It is approximately 200 tons and has solar panels for electricity and a backup generator. The inland supplies water to the island, since the lagoon water is polluted. He prepares compost to grow some grass on the island.
Ile Flottante Resort – The Floating Island Resort
The island is now a recreation site for almost 100 guests a week with the peak in the weekends. The Island resort has the following:
- One complete hotel
- A karaoke bar
- Two swimming pools.
- Two thatched bungalows.
- Different shrubs and trees.
- A walkway that coils from the center.
Guests access the floating island resort with the aid of boats. The charges are: $25 per day; inclusive of ferry trip and meals and $100 for an overnight stay. The guests include tourists and locals.
Becker is not sure whether the project will move the world but will reach out to help recycling of wastes. He is committed to promote by expanding his system to encourage the world to recycle. The project promotes green tourism hence he aims to inspire other entrepreneurs too. Also, working on a project that could allow human waste to be recycled for compost for the plants.
The floating island resort also faces disadvantages despite of it being environmentally friendly. For instance, the hotels and the locals regularly discharge sewage into the lagoon. Mr. Eric is testing his technology to curb water population in Abidjan, the most affected area.