Every year hundreds of sea turtles are entangled, maimed and killed by abandoned fishing nets around the tropical atolls of the Maldives as they return to the ocean from their nesting beaches in India. The Olive Ridley Project is saving the turtles they can and reclaiming the lost or discarded ‘ghost’ nets they find. In five years they have removed over 1,400 plastic nets from the ocean and saved countless olive ridley sea turtles.
We’ve donated two of our marine recycled plastic Paradise sit-on-tops (made from ghost gear recovered in UK seas) to the Olive Ridley Project – so that it can be used to help recover more plastic and to get more volunteers out on the water, enjoying the sea and protecting what they love.
In February Cal Major (Paddle Against Plastic) and Rob Thompson (Odyssey Innovation, inventor of the marine recycled plastic) travelled from the UK to Baa Atoll in the Maldives to take part in a 100 km paddleboard expedition highlighting plastic pollution. Over eight days, Cal and three local waterwomen paddled between the islands, visiting schools, rallying beach cleanups and talking to people along the way about practical solutions to plastic pollution and climate change. The two Paradise sit-on-top kayaks accompanied them to help carry the marine waste they collected along the way, paddled by Rob and Shameel Ibrahim of the Olive Ridley Project.
They were welcomed wherever they went by locals and island resorts alike, excited to share the positive changes they had already made, proud to protect local marine life, and eager to learn. Many schools were working towards becoming plastic free, and gave their own account of their waste management improvements at home.
The Maldives is renowned for its pristine marine environment and abundant wildlife, but it is also vulnerable to plastic pollution, coral bleaching and climate change. Thousands of marine creatures every year are entangled in lost or discarded fishing nets. Thousands more ingest plastic fragments, causing starvation and poisoning the food chain.
We’re stoked to be able to use reclaimed ocean plastic in our sit-on-top kayaks thanks to Odyssey Innovation. For each sit-on-top kayak we make, waste that would otherwise be burnt is helping people get involved in plastic cleanups and to enjoy the sea for themselves. For every sit-on-top we sell there are more kayaks we can donate to schemes like the Olive Ridley Project all around the world.
Do you have an environmental project or big beach clean planned? Throughout the year, we will be choosing projects to support by donating our Paradise marine recycled kayaks to help out. Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
– photos James Appleton