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News Link • Environment

Plastic islands being used to restore African lake

•, By Ben Coxworth
 The participants plan on taking several artificial floating islands made from post-consumer plastic, planting papyrus on them, and then using them to help rebuild the ecosystem of Africa’s Lake Naivasha.
Located in Kenya’s Rift Valley, the lake was crystal clear 30 years ago. Since then, a 20-fold increase in the local human population, along with foraging activity by water buffalo native to the region, has resulted in massive clearing of the lakeshore papyrus plants.
Like other aquatic plants, papyrus serve a vital role. Acting as biofilters, they trap suspended sediments, plus they remove toxic substances and excess nutrients from the water. Unfortunately, the destruction of much of the lake’s papyrus plants has led to a marked decline in its water quality.
The restoration project is being funded by the German REWE Group. It involves the participation of UK tea producer and flower grower Finlays (which grows flowers in the region), and is being led by Dr. David Harper, a senior lecturer at the University of Leicester.

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