Ahoy there me hearties – activist takes to the Clyde on a raft made of plastic bottles

A buccaneering clean-up activist has taken to the water – on a raft constructed from thousands of discarded bottles.

The good ship ‘Plastic Peril’ set sail from Renfrew and floated on the River Clyde for an hour.

Skipper Paul Richardson, backed by crewmate Ryan Green on a safety boat, floated off the bank near Braehead shopping centre.

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They had stashed their super buoyant craft in a quiet spot near the water.

The protest was to show the scale of the litter problem in our waterways.

The Plastic Peril was highly buoyant
The Plastic Peril was highly buoyant
(Image: Paul Richardson)

And Paul, who runs Paisley’s Calamity Kayaking, said: “I just hope to help turn the tide.

“My fight against plastic and waste will go on.”

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It took five days of clearing up banks around Renfrew to gather the 60 bags required for the raft.

Most of that was close to Renfrew itself and the Renfrew Ferry helped tow the waste to a landing spot.

The pair spent a couple of hours tying all the bags together before setting sail at lunchtime on Tuesday.

In the end, only 45 bags were needed for Plastic Peril and Paul said it floated so well he could have sailed across the English Channel in it.

The deck was a simple sheet of plywood and Paul’s plastic pandemic flag doubled as a mast.

Taking shape at Renfrew, more than 3,000 bottles in bags were tied together
Taking shape at Renfrew, more than 3,000 bottles in bags were tied together
(Image: Paul Richardson)

Paul,45, said: “The volume of waste coming down the Clyde and the White Cart seems to be increasing and something must be done.

“What we have gathered in the last few days was too heavy to kayak it anywhere, so we were delighted to be helped by the ferry.

“I had planned to build the raft to highlight the problem a number of months ago.

“I did want to float it during COP26, but they wouldn’t let me.”

He added: “We didn’t realise that one of the bags we used had a microwave oven in it.

“But it felt fantastic being out on the water, right to the middle of the river.

“I was even singing sea shanties.

“I am just very happy to have made my protest.”

Paul had originally wanted to anchor the craft where the White Cart Water meets the River Clyde.

Another member of the Calamity clean-up team, Joseph Heenan, could not make the raft expedition due to work commitments.

Paul and two campaigners were prepared to sleep out overnight in a tent on the raft.

He estimated each bag contained 70 bottles, from small water bottles to two litre fizzy drinks containers.

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Daily Record – Paisley