Pedaling against plastic
Some of the world’s most beautiful places are drowning in abandoned plastic bags – but travellers through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand can make a difference. Through June and July, a team of ‘environmental cyclists’ and documentary makers are embarking on a journey from Hanoi to Bangkok. They’re making a documentary about their journey and the anti-plastic campaigners they meet along the way.
Australians Paul Hellier and Jamie Lepre have been joined by a team of explorers keen to test themselves and spread the word about the impact of single-use plastic. As they ride, they will be doing their best by travelling responsibly, steering clear of single-use plastic and carrying any plastic they can’t avoid through to the finish.
The team will be cycling 2500km through the countryside of three South East Asian countries in 90% humidity. If that wasn’t a large enough test? “The best part is whatever we can’t avoid, we will carry with us” said Mr Lepre. “The goal is to get to the end with almost nothing, we don’t want to make our luggage any heavier than it has to be. And if we can do this with a language barrier, it might inspire others to do it more in their daily lives back home” Mr Lepre said.
The other purpose of the trip is to develop networks with locals working to reduce the impact of single-use plastic on the environment. “We are working with groups like Plastic Free Cambodia and Clean and Green Vietnam,” said Mr Hellier. “They are doing amazing work encouraging food businesses to reduce plastic, running education programs, doing clean-ups and finding long term solutions. We can learn from them as they are best placed to change things locally, that’s our best shot at change.”
The ride started in Vietnam’s northern capital Hanoi on Sunday, and continues through scenic coastal destinations including Hue, Qui Nhon, Danang, Hoi An and Nha Trang before hitting the hustle and bustle of Ho Chi Minh City.
From there they will head west through the food bowl of the Mekong Delta and up into Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh. They will then meet musician Ash Grunwald in the Angkor town of Siem Reap talking plastic solutions with inspirational characters. Ancient temples, beautiful beaches and colourful locals are the backdrop in the creation of this documentary of hope to end plastic pollution.
Since starting on Monday, the group have already met fascinating characters doing great environmental work. With many mile of pedalling and hours of filming and editing ahead, this special trip is definitely more than your average holiday.
The documentary is supported by Jetstar and Intrepid Travel plus numerous NGO’s and plastic reduction advocates. Follow the Peloton Against Plastic and keep an eye out for their upcoming documentary They want to talk to you so catch them as they ride through town.