San Francisco, the US city by the bay renowned for its summer fogs and landmarks, is also a haven for yachties. Inside a nondescript pier in the heart of San Francisco’s waterfront, a team of environmental adventurers—led by David de Rothschild—is building a boat out of plastic bottles. The catamaran will take adventurers to Sydney, a trip that will highlight the scale of plastic pollution in oceans and the damage it is wreaking on a fragile ecosystem. While the journey will be unpredictable, building a plastic bottle boat in the first place has been the greatest challenge. “We are now standing on a material that is potentially a solution for the waste problem that is plastic pet bottles,” de Rothschild said. Plastic waste drives this 31-year-old descendant of a wealthy banking family, who is determined to make a difference. Towards the end of November the team will set sail towards the Golden Gate Bridge and head for Sydney. Once it docks, the vessel will be broken up and all its parts reused—the crew does not yet know for what purpose.
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