An ingenious idea to put the plastic polluting our oceans to good use could also end up saving trees as well.

The beaches of Kenya’s idyllic Lamu island are increasingly being polluted with discarded plastic, and British-Ethiopian safari organiser Ben Morrison, dismayed by what he was seeing, decided to act.

He approached Ali Skanda Abdalla, a 44-year-old master boat builder.

Together, they decided to design a traditional dhow, or sailing boat, from recycled plastic.

The plan is to offer a market to recyclers and persuade locals to preserve woodland.

They are using plastic planks from the local recycling industry to build the boat, and hope to sail it to Cape Town in South Africa when it is finished.

It is getting harder and harder for boat builders to find wood. I hope that this project will allow the ancient skills of boat building to live on, by shifting from ever-scarce wood to plastic, Mr Morrison said.

Mr Morrison, who is working with eight expert Kenyan boat builders, said the project is not easy.

We struggle to produce a consistent material out of the recycled plastic, he said.

It’s not easy. Sometimes we receive plastic planks from the factory that are full of air bubbles. We can’t build with them and so we have to start from the beginning again.

Tough action has been taken in Kenya in a bid to tackle the problem of plastic pollution.

The African nation introduced one of the world’s toughest bans on plastic bags – with a punishment of four years in prison or a fine of $40,000 (roughly £30,000) for using one.

Plastic pollution is a growing problem, with the UN estimating that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish unless drastic action is taken.

:: Sky has been running a campaign to make people more aware of the effect plastic has on the world’s oceans and to share ways of tackling the problem. To get involved in Sky Ocean Rescue, visit the campaign website here. You can also watch our documentary, A Plastic Voyage.
(c) Sky News 2017: Bid to build boat out of plastic waste to combat pollution in Kenya