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Palestinian fisherman makes environmentally-friendly boats from plastics

Palestinian fisherman makes environmentally-friendly boats from plastics

Environmental protection

35-year old Palestinian, Muath Abou Zeid made a fishing boat from hundreds of plastic bottles and it was abandoned on the coast of Rafah in the Gaza Strip.

But for the past two weeks, the father of four, has been out at sea for about eight hours a day and managed to catch between five and seven kilos of sardines, red mullets and other fishes.

Zeid sells his catch to passers-by along the sea, for a sum varying between 20 and 40 shekels, or about 4 to 9 euros.

But he says his impact on the environment is more important than anything else.

“This boat is made from empty plastic bottles. I have other ideas for all the empty bottles thrown by people on the beaches, I hope to use these empty bottles to save the environment”, Zeid said.

His only tools include glue, old fishing nets and a wooden board to make the plastic boat. Zeid said his boat can accomodate 8 people .

“The maximum distance I can travel with this boat is 1.5 to 2 kilometres, because it’s a paddle boat and it’s very tiring. I fish with hooks because I can’t find a place to buy nets and fishing gear in Gaza”, he said.

The Gaza Strip, controlled by the Islamist Hamas movement, has been subjected to a severe Israeli land and sea blockade for more than a decade. This has led to increased unemployment rate estimated at 45%, with 80% of the two million inhabitants dependent on aid, according to the World Bank.

This week, the Defense Minister authorized the complete re-opening of Kerem Shalom, the only transit terminal for goods between the Hebrew state and the Gaza Strip.