Cameroon native, Ismael Essome Ebone, is turning recycled plastic bottles into what he calls, “EcoBoats.
“Ebone first came up with the idea in 2011, after trying to figure out a way to reuse all of the discarded plastic bottles that were clogging waterways and exacerbating the issues of flooding in Cameroon.
He finally thought to try to turn the bottles into fishing boats, a huge need for the people who live near the rivers.
The bottles worked surprisingly well on the river and Ebone began referring to his reusable boats as Eco Boats. Eventually, he turned his hobby into a nonprofit business called Madiba & Nature.
The organization partners with the Cameroonian government to create “eco bins,” small trash cans made out of plastic bottles that Ebone uses to collect the materials for his boats. Once the bottles are collected, they get tied together to create the Eco Boats which are then used by local fishermen.
Emmanuel Japa, a Cameroonian fisherman said he’s impressed by Ebone’s invention. “The boat is well made. It looks good. In the beginning, we thought it was a joke, but then we realized … it’s a good strong boat,” he said.
Ebone hopes that his boats will help solve dual issues, waste in an area prone to flooding, and scarcity of much needed fishing boats. Through his organization, he hopes to encourage more young people to get into the fishing industry, an industry that’s lucrative in his homeland but expensive to get into. He hopes that his Eco Boats will make the career path more viable and encourages the youth to get involved in the process.
Check out the video below to see Ebone and his process!