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water pollution
Kenya
By Abdelftah Tipen Adam
09 Dec 2017

this is river site stream bath by Nairobi city

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waterpoll
Nairobi
By Abdelftah Tipen Adam
09 Dec 2017

this is river site stream bath by Nairobi city

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Mae toen 03
Mae Toen, Thailand
By Ana Salvá
13 Aug 2014

Mae Toen is close to a fluoride mine that has contaminated the water of the village. Despite the mine's closure 40 years ago, the area has become a polluted artificial lake, where water overflows during the rainy season. "The problem we have is that in Mae Toen, the groundwater is used for eating and cooking, and this is contaminated by with fluoride," says Dr. Chatpat Kongpun, who works at the Ministry of Public Health Thailand.

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Startup Turns Fishing Nets Into Skate...
Santiago, Chile
By Zachary F. Volkert
23 May 2014

TOPLINE: Ben Kneppers is giving waste wheels with the Bureo Skateboards project – recycling used fishing nets from along the Chilean coast and turning them into skateboards and, in the future, a slew of other products.

When Ben Kneppers arrived to Chile in 2012 two things struck him: the country’s rapid economic development was making it a goldmine for entrepreneurs, and that its 2,000-mile coastline was being marred by pollution.

Discarded fishing nets drifting in the ocean ensnare animals all of over the world – which is no exception in the nation’s robust fishing industry.

“In my visits to coastal communities early on I was really struck by how little there was to manage [fishing net pollution],” Kneppers said. “But we thought, ‘What if there was a system to prevent the pollution, but also upcycle it into funds, so that we would be able to get back to these communities [to collect more nets].”

Shortly after, Knepper’s company Bureo – taken from the native Mapuche population’s word for wave – received a $40,000 grant from local incubator program Start-Up Chile.

When Kneppers first started the project with his two partners – David Strover and Kevin Ahearn – the three were looked on a bit suspiciously by the fisherman, who dubbed them “Los Tres Gringos Locos” – the three crazy white guys.

“When we first came there I honestly don’t think the fisherman believed or understood, in our poor Spanish, exactly what we were doing,” Knepper said. “They were like, ‘Why are they scrubbing our trash, what is this?’”

“Scrubbing their trash” meant stripping down the used nets with brushes before sending them to being “shredded, pelletized and injected”, says Knepper, until they become plastic material that the skateboards are made out of.

After showing the fisherman video of the process as well as the final product, the community became much more receptive to the idea – bins to collect the nets are always full now and the recycled nets travel back to Santiago on the same trucks the fishermen use.

“We’re turning off the faucet, rather than wiping up the mess of water around the room,” he said. “It’s much more efficient and effective way to approach – this we work directly with the fishing communities, where they’re using the nets … and collecting them right at the source.”

Since launching in Coquímbo in January earlier this year, the company has used more than 2 tons of recycled fishing nets to make their own line of environmentally friendly skateboards. Next week they land in Chilean port city Concepción, where the industry is larger than their current total operation.

“Seventy large scale artisanal boats and several commercial fishing companies,” Kneppers said. “We estimate they are turning well-over 500 tons of nets a year.”

After an endorsement from American musician Jack Johnson as well as support from companies like Patagonia and program assistants the World Wildlife Federation, the company recently brought in $65,000 in a Kickstarter campaign – three times their original goal. It’s the kind of funding that the group hopes to use to expand beyond their initial gimmick – the create products from the material that millions of people use daily.

After making appearances on local TV stations, Knepper jokes that he had received 100s of Facebook requests from young Chileans interested in the project. While at a local skate park a boy rolls over to chat with him about the project – word is spreading about the gringos who recycle the nets into skateboards.

“Just as a wave starts with this small change on the surface of the ocean , we’re starting with a small change in an ocean of plastic,” Knepper said. “Yes, we’re 3 gringos on the ground making this little impact now, but if we can make that build up with time and energy we could making more and more products – that’s what we really believe in.”