Paddling down the entire river Rhine on a board made from plastic waste: from its pristine source in Switzerland to where it empties into the North Sea after 1200 kilometres. Along with all the plastic waste it has gathered.



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The Plastic Soup Surfer

Merijn Tinga, better known as The Plastic Soup Surfer, is on a mission. He wants to stop the increasing plastic pollution of the marine environment. His campaigns are aimed at preventing plastic litter in the first place. The surfboard he used for this expedition is made from plastic litter and is a statement by itself. Merijn paddled down the Rhine in 28 days. In #Source2Sea, he shows how much plastic litter is found along the Rhine and demonstrated that this litter eventually washes out to sea and is lost forever.

His focus is on the sources of riverine plastic litter and he will hold accountable the companies that produced the plastic products. He calls out to you to help address the chief executives of the plastic producing and packaging companies by sending them a formal notice. Because we need a change!

Plastic waste should not exist at all, it should be regarded as a resource

The Plastic Soup SUP

The Stand Up Paddle (SUP) board was built in collaboration with an Industrial Designer from the Science Centre at the Delft Technical University. Five thousand bottle caps and over a hundred small littered plastic bottles were used in the design. The board was constructed using the latest innovations in eco design. Moreover, it was designed in such a way that it could hold all the luggage needed to be self-sufficient during the expedition.

Plastic waste facts & figs

20.000.000 kilos of waste are spilt into the North Sea each year, most of which is single use plastic. Plastic does not break down biologically, but breaks up into even smaller pieces and accumulates in our marine environment. These small pieces of plastic have infiltrated every level of our food chain and by now, we are finding microplastics in supermarket fish and on our dinner plates. Plastic production has increased 20 fold within the last 50 years. If we continue the way we do, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by the year 2050.

20 million kg Waste spilled into the North Sea every year, mostly plastic
14 million Plastic bottles in the Dutch environment every year
40 thousand kg Of plastic waste down the Rhine into the North Sea every year
2000 kg / sq km Plastic waste on every square km of beach worldwide
94% Of plastic sinks further slowing the degradation process
>80% Plastic waste in oceans from land based sources
>50% Of plastics we use just once and throw away
36% Of species of bird with ingestion of marine plastic
100.000 Sea mammals die as a result of marine plastic pollution each year
1.000.000 Sea birds die as a result of marine plastic pollution each year

Changes in design and legislation should be acted upon with priority wherever there is risk of plastic litter ending up in a river, lake or sea

Merijn Tinga