Eight geotag journalists exploring your city. This week: Creative London.

Globetrottering on garbage

By Avinash Kalla

Seventeen months on the road, travelling 50 countries, week behind bars barely escaping life imprisonment, eco traveller from London, Andy Pag is raring to cover equal distance.

Travelling the world by road on a van made of scrap and powered by waste might sound eccentric but is something that makes Andy’s adventure unique.

This 35 year old from Croydon set himself a mission of going around the globe in approximately 365 days in bid to emit less than 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Despite his journey overshooting the target he had initially set, Andy is all set to conquer the world.

“I have gone beyond the time limit but the mission is on, though I might not be able to keep emission below 2 tonnes, it’s no less a task to tour the world on bio fuel,” says Andy from Bangkok, from where he is gearing to head to USA.

With support of few friends who believed in his seemingly unrealistic mission Andy decided to travel the world designing a van that can run on waste.

The motto was to use waste all through and it started with setting up the machine.

His inspiration was TV show of the 70’s The Wombles. He picked up a 15 year old Mercedes school van for a price of scrap, converted it by using rag, toiled for three months, before setting out on his dream wheels.

“From flooring to carpet to shower to kitchen rack everything in my bus is made from rubbish thrown outside by people,” says Andy adding:” except the solar panel, which was provided by a sponsor”.

Land of opportunities

Andy feels being in London helped him go for his not so usual dream.

“London is the melting pot of people and opportunities, you can find everything here. Mail people, they respond and go meet them in person and if they are convinced of your idea, there is no stopping you,” says Pag of the city where he has lived most of his life.

An engineer by training the former award winning undercover BBC journalist who later turned into filmmaker likes to challenge himself. After travelling across Europe to Timbuktu in a chocolate fuel powered car Andy set himself up this daunting task.

Jailed abroad

Andy’s ambitious project almost came to an abrupt end when he was wrongly booked by Indian Police, in Rajasthan under a non bailable act for carrying satellite phone which is banned in the country.

“I had overlooked that I needed a permit for my satellite phone — an embarrassing and regretful oversight — with enormous consequences,” Andy wrote for The Times of India after he was released on bail.

It took him three months to get his name cleared and set his plan back on the track.

Talking his way through

The goodwill Andy earned while under trial helped him reset his plans.

“All of sudden I was recognised across the country,” says Andy. People donated money generously, many of his sponsors stuck by him and he started being invited for talks at schools and universities.

“The flip side was that I could not go to China for the authorities willing to sponsor me did not want any negative publicity and I had to cancel the visit,” says Andy.

He then headed to Nepal, crossed Kula Lumpur, Jakarta, Bangkok and is now heading to USA.

Having travelled extensively taking about going green Andy’s biggest learning has been: “It’s the rich countries that are polluting the world more, the poor the country, the more eco friendly it is,” Andy signs off. poor the country, the more eco friendly it is,” Andy signs off.
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