Richie (Rishi) Sowa is back! In 2002, Sowa, a former carpenter from Middlesbrough in England, completed the construction of his own private island paradise off the coast of Quintana Roo—built entirely of plastic bottles. Amazing but true! Sowa painstakingly constructed his island, known as Spiral Island, using more than 200,000 plastic bottles, and then lived on it! Unfortunately, his island home was entirely demolished by Hurricane Emily in 2005.
- The story of Spiral Island (MexConnect)
This was seemingly only a minor defeat since Sowa has since completed an even bigger and more resilient island on which to live, using the knowledge acquired from Spiral Island. His new creation is known as Joysxee. It is currently tethered to the island of Isla Mujeres, north of Cancún.
Besides plastic bottles, Sowa used discarded wood and has planted vegetation including mangroves to help stabilize his home. His latest plan is to install a wave-powered propulsion system, allowing him to relocate his island at will, something I’m guessing he’s going to do next time a hurricane comes roaring in!
For Joysxee, Sowa has so far “reused” 125,000 plastic bottles. The island is 25 meters in diameter, and fitted with solar panels, a wave-powered washing machine. It comes complete with its own waterfall, river and (small) lakes. The island is designed to allow Sowa to be largely self-sufficient. The island’s vegetation includes many food sources such as palm trees, cacti, spinach, melons, lemons and tomatoes. The island will act as home to corals and fish as well.
Sowa’s ambition? To sail his eco-island round the world. He is the latest in a long line of English eccentrics, but you can only admire his creativity, artistry, vision and determination. Other people have sunk rusty old ships to make new underwater reefs, but how many have built an entire island from scratch, using discarded plastic bottles?
Not surprisingly, Joysxee, Sowa’s amazing home, has become an increasingly popular tourist attraction, receiving dozens of curious visitors a day. It is also a testimony to ecological sustainability.
- Joysxee is a Real Eco-Paradise Island That Floats Atop Garbage! by Lori Zimmer
- Unique housing: Taking Expatriate Living to the Extreme by Kristi Rifenbark
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