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Ismaäl Essome is a Cameroonian entrepreneur who manufactures canoes by recycling plastic bottles in a bid to protect the environment..

The first made-in-Cameroon ecological canoe is a means by the young entrepreneur, an engineer in environmental management, to add to the fight against pollution in the environment. The project cost is estimated at about one million francs CFA (approximately $1,850).

According to Ismaäl, it wasn’t an easy task as they had to define the shape and look for a durable rope to bind the bottles together. Talking to Le Monde Afrique who followed him for a test ride, he said We added modifications. We are constantly trying to improve”.

The canoe, built with plastic bottles and ropes is capable of transporting up to three people and a total weight of about 90kg on water. Also, the canoe can resist upcoming waves.

The environmentally sustainable project has three main objectives according to the inventor:

  • Tourism: The boats will be available for tourists, hence encouraging seaside tourism.

  • Cleaning the Environment: Using plastic bottles helps to do away with one of the biggest problems in Cameroon’s big cities which is the dumping of PET bottles in streams and drains.

  • Protect Trees: Trees are cut down to make canoes in the coastal regions of Cameroon. This invention will bring down the number of trees that will be cut to make canoes.

According to him, if he could get finance for this project, the canoes will be modernized and marketed. This will bring about a success in the war against PET bottles, protection of trees as well as fishermen and river transporters will spend less to purchase a canoe.

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For the price, he said the eco-friendly canoe will cost about 100,000FCFA ($185) which is far cheaper than the wooden canoes whose cost varies between 150,000 to 500,000FCFA ($278 – $925).

In October 2014, the government of Cameroon implemented a regulatory text whereby those producing plastic packages will have to come up with recycling chains or projects in other to effectively win the war against plastic pollution.

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Source: Business in Cameroon