There’s a boat full of trash floating down the Mississippi river.
Well, it’s actually a boat made of trash, specifically hundreds of plastic bottles cobbled together to form a 21-foot catamaran. The watercraft, “ioco,” is helmed by a six-man team of environmentalists hailing from all over the world. The expedition calls itself Recycled Mississippi, and on Tuesday the floating heap of bottles docked in Alton, Illinois, so the team could restock on supplies and enjoy some sight-seeing in St. Louis.
“St. Louis marks the halfway point for us,” says filmmaker and expedition member Gary Bencheghib, who is producing a documentary based on the journey. The team embarked from Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 19, with the goal of traversing 1,800 miles of river to reach the Gulf of Mexico by mid-August.
“Typically we camp out on sand banks on the river,” Bencheghib says. “We’ve had good weather so far, only big two storms.”
So why would anyone set foot on a boat built from hundreds of plastic bottles lashed together with chicken wire? It comes down to pollution and plastic. The group seeks to raise awareness about river pollution, recycling and the need to eliminate single-use plastic containers.