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Raft race 2019 promises recycling opportunity for Aldabra plastic |21 October 2019

Raft race 2019 promises recycling opportunity for Aldabra plastic

A raft made of PET bottles

The Aldabra Clean-Up Project was a beach clean-up like no other. This incredibly ambitious operation astounded observers in Seychelles and around the world by successfully removing 25 metric tonnes of plastic waste from one of the most inaccessible and remote locations in the Indian Ocean.

Aldabra is one of Seychelles’ most precious wildlife hotspots. It’s a Unesco World Heritage site with an unrivalled level of marine and terrestrial diversity, an increasingly rare oasis in a world where such sites come under attack from numerous threats.

Sadly, Aldabra is not immune from the global pressures which are impacting our oceans. Marine plastic litter inundates Aldabra’s extensive shorelines, polluting the sand and water and posing a hazard to wildlife. The Seychelles Islands Foundation (SIF) and Oxford University took the initiative to tackle the problem head on, and clear as much plastic litter as possible from 16 of Aldabra’s turtle-nesting beaches.

So what next? Now Seychelles’ public can play their part in the Aldabra Clean-Up Project by repurposing that plastic waste and putting it to good use. SIF wants to break the cycle of plastic waste, and stop as much of that plastic ending up in landfill as possible.

The Seychelles National Parks Authority (SNPA) and Global Vision International (GVI) raft race on November 23 (held during the Seychelles Ocean Festival organised by Seychelles Tourism Board), is a fantastic opportunity for members of the public to recycle some of Aldabra’s plastic waste, raise money for charity and have lots of fun at the same time. The 8th raft race will take place in the 40- year-old Baie Ternay Marine National Park. The event promises to see some innovative raft designs made of recycled plastics. Last year a team from Constance Ephelia Resort participated with a raft made almost entirely of PET water bottles.

This year, 25 rafts are expected to undertake the 1.6km challenge across the beautiful marine park. Last year’s winner, Skychef, who completed the race in a record-breaking 27 minutes 57 seconds, said it will be participating with a new design as it wants to retain its title. There are limited spaces left for the race and organisations and groups that want to compete for a great cause are advised to register now (contact SNPA on 2813992).

SNPA is putting great effort into fundraising this year, as the winner will obtain a portion of the funds raised to donate to a charity of their choice. Besides 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners, prizes will also be awarded for the most innovative raft, best costume and the most funds raised.

Two of Seychelles’ great protected areas have joined forces for this event, so do not miss out on a great spectacle!

If you have other creative ideas about re-using the plastic from Aldabra,

please contact SIF on 4321 735.

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