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Boat of bottles

By Ignatius Pereira



Balachandra Kurup (right) on his boat.

KOLLAM Aug. 27. At a time when PET bottles are posing a threat to the environment, an innovative attempt has been made in Kerala to utilise this ubiquitous material, poly ethylene terephthalate, to make a useful product.

PET bottles are commonly used as containers for soft drinks and are invariably discarded after use. Difficult to destroy and non-biodegradable, the bottles are a hazard to the environment.

Balachandra Kurup, who used to work in a Gulf country, thought of a plan not only to reduce pressure on the environment from the PET bottles but also to put them to productive use. He used discarded bottles to fabricate a small rowing boat, in which he rows in the Paravur Lake.

Mr. Kurup (40) used 235 bottles he collected from a hotel to make the boat. The bottles are held together with wild vines and buttressed with reeds and PVC pipes. While the boat looks crude and resembles a dinghy, it serves the purpose.

He said it took a month to build the craft. He uses it for fishing and even to ferry his family across the lake. The boat is comfortable and no water seeps in. "For this all the bottles should be capped and air-tight," he explained.

Mr. Kurup said he was ready to go in for commercial production of the boats if there was adequate demand. He offers a three-year guarantee on the boat, saying, "PET spares for the boat will always be in stock."

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