Spiral Island might sound like an ordinary hunk of land surrounded by water, but think again. Spiral Island is actually an island made completely from plastic bottles and other recycled materials. A British artist and environmentalist by the name Richart “Rishi” Sowa is responsible for crafting the eco-friendly creation.
Back in 2005, the original Spiral Island was taken out by the force of a hurricane. No need to worry, the masterpiece was brought back to life shortly thereafter. The latest version of the plastic bottle island has been open for people to visit since 2008 and is known as Joyxee Island, or Spiral Island II.
It took some time to get the rebuild underway, but with the help of volunteers and plenty of dedication, Sowa was able to gather all 100,000 water bottles necessary to rebuild his home-made island masterpiece.
In the image below, the top photo shows the original Spiral Island, which was held up by 250,000 recycled bottles. The bottom photo shows Spiral Island II, held up by 100,000 recycled bottles.
Before the wrath of Hurricane Emily left the first Spiral Island a disaster site, it survived for quite a while, as it was built back in 1998. The original island was located near Puerto Aventuras and used even more plastic bottles to stay afloat, an incredible 250,000! After Hurricane Emily blew the original man-made island on shore, Sowa decided he should relocate his island to somewhere where the weather was less crazy.
The latest edition, Spiral Island II, is nestled into a lagoon where it is protected from extremely harsh weather. It’s not just a silly little house, oh no, this beach front property has a couple of astonishing amenities, including 2 ponds–one shaped like a heart–a solar-powered waterfall, plus plenty of pretty foliage.
So how does it work? Empty bottles are placed inside of bags, which are attached to a bamboo frame that the island sits atop, thus giving the island the buoyancy necessary to stay afloat.
Since less water bottles were used to craft the newest island retreat, it is slightly smaller than the original. As of now, the island is around 20 meters in diameter, but that number is expected to change. With time the island continues to grow and expand as Sowa considers it a constant “eco-work-in-progress.”
As an environmentalist, Sowa is concerned with the trash problem the world currently faces. Plastic bottles remain one of our largest problems, as they are used in mass amounts and often end up in landfills instead of recycling yards. When plastic bottles are not properly recycled they are left to rot in landfills, polluting our planet, harming animals and sea life. Back in 2009, 1,500 bottles were made every single second in the US alone, today that number continues to grow.
Sowa’s project gives a place for some of these water bottles to go. Not only is the island kept afloat by the recycled bottles, but all of the structural components are also made of recycled materials. Sounds like a great way to bring attention to our current waste problem and show people how recycling can change the world.
Although, there are some skeptics out there that don’t see this as a good thing for the fight towards a more environmentally-friendly world. Some people are concerned that when another large storm sweeps through and blows the island to bits again, the entire Atlantic will be full of the many water bottles and recycled materials–potentially harming ocean life and causing a bigger pollution problem.
If this enchanted location looks familiar, it has been featured on a number of TV documentaries including, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and MTV’s Extreme Cribs.