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A New Boat To Float In Fair Park's Fountain

It’s not every day you see thousands of plastic bottles floating in Fair Park’s fountain. But that’s exactly what you’ll find this weekend – in the form of a boat. It’s the main attraction at Southern Methodist University’s Engineering & Humanity Week-- a program that brings together students engineers, architects and academics from around the world at Fair Park and on SMU’s campus.

The Plastiki is a 60-foot catamaran built from 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles, a mast made of reclaimed aluminum irrigation pipe, with parts held together using an organic glue made from cashew nuts and sugar cane.

The boat’s creator – David de Rothschild, sailed across the Pacific Ocean in 2010 to bring attention to the South Pacific garbage patch – a floating mass of plastic trash that’s twice the size of Texas.

De Rothschild decided to bring the boat Dallas in large part because of SMU’s Institute for Engineering & Humanity, which focuses on sustainability and innovation.

The idea behind the boat, de Rothschild says, is to showcase waste as a resource. And although the boat doesn’t look like trash, the whole thing is recycle bale. But don’t worry; Plastiki won’t be turned into t-shirts or carpets any time soon. After its short float in the fountain, the boat’s off to the plaza of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science for the summer. Three years after finishing its voyage across the Pacific, Plastiki is beginning another journey to inspire people in North Texas. 

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.