x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Drive against plastic hits road

A Dubai couple has embarked on a journey across 22 countries in Europe and Asia to speak against plastic waste.

Theresa and David Wernery are to travel in their Ford F150 4x4 in what they are calling the Plastic Not So Fantastic Expedition.com .
Theresa and David Wernery are to travel in their Ford F150 4x4 in what they are calling the Plastic Not So Fantastic Expedition.com .

The adventure has finally begun after almost a year of preparation.

Theresa and David Wernery left Dubai yesterday on an international campaign against plastic waste.

They hopped on to a ferry for the city of Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. They will continue to Turkey, Europe and back to parts of Asia before returning to Dubai this year.

"It was stressful until this morning," Mr Wernery said as the couple's F-150 pickup, their only means of transport on the journey across 22 countries, was loaded on to the ferry at Sharjah's Khalid Port. "It has been quite hectic over the last couple of days."

The German former lawyer and his German-British wife did not receive their international driving licences from their homeland until Sunday.

There was also a last-minute search for spare tyres, and many farewells to family and friends.

"Now it feels good, we are happy we are finally on the road," Mr Wernery said, a few hours before departure.

While fun is definitely an objective, the couple will also connect with environmentalists in the countries they visit on their "Plastic Not So Fantastic" tour.

Their special focus is explaining the dangers of plastic debris, which can kill camels, goats, cattle and other animals that accidentally eat it. Plastic bags can also kill marine turtles and sea birds.

Even when broken down to small pieces, plastic continues to be dangerous. New studies suggest small polymer molecules are being eaten by fish and can eventually find their way up the food chain, possibly harming humans.

The couple will sleep in a tent on top of their pickup and bathe in a makeshift shower cabin.

They hope to stop at the ancient city of Persepolis before arriving in Tehran on April 30, when they will meet two environmental artists.

Also on the agenda is a quick drive through Turkey and a clean-up in Bulgaria on May 12. From there, the Wernerys will head to Romania, Hungary and Germany.

They plan to reach Britain in June, where their car will be modified to run on liquefied natural gas as well as petrol. The move will cut their carbon emissions, as natural gas is cleaner than petrol.

The change will also make fuel a little easier on the wallet, said Mr Wernery.

The journey will also take the couple through Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Ukraine. They will continue through Russia and Kazakhstan, finishing the journey in Turkmenistan and Iran.

They expect to be back in Dubai in October.