One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, as the saying goes — but for French entrepreneur Eric Becker, it’s more like a treasure island, complete with a hotel, two swimming pools, and a karaoke bar.
In a bid to clean up the lagoon, Becker’s ‘L’île Flottante’ — or ‘Floating Island ‘ — bobs about the surface of the lagoon in Abidjan, the economic center of West Africa’s Ivory Coast, on a platform made out of around 700,000 plastic bottles and debris.
The Frenchman originally wanted to make a catamaran from all the plastic bottles he was collecting. But when he saw the lagoon near Abidjan, he quickly came up with the idea of making it a complete floating island.
The island, which is mainly powered by solar energy, aspires to foster a greener and more mobile tourism in the area – which is less harmful to coastlines and seas than conventional beach resorts – with the hope of inspiring similar projects elsewhere. With that said, Becker doesn’t think the island is perfect yet. While it is more environmentally friendly than regular hotels, guests still leave behind waste. For example, sewage is regularly discharged into the lagoon, just like everywhere else in Abidjan. Becker is, therefore, testing a technology to convert waste into compost for the plants on the island.
Visitors to the resort are brought to the island by boat and are required to pay $25 per day visit or $100 for an overnight stay. Currently, L’île Flottante attracts around 100 guests each week, including curious locals and ecotourists.