For 17 decades, Mohamed Nasar has supported his family of five by angling in the Nile River close to the banks of this small island of Al-Qursaya near central Cairo.

Nevertheless, the 58-year-old says fishermen like himself capture fewer fish annually as the Nile has become clogged with plastic bottles, bags and other garbage.

“The fish have caught in the bottles, and they die,” said Nasar.

A local environmental group called”VeryNile” has asked the island fishermen to use their boats to collect plastic bottles in the river. VeryNile says it buys the bottles at a greater cost than the general market price on offer from traders or recyling plants.

The initiative provides a sustainable solution for helping to clean up the Nile, while providing an additional source of earnings for fisherman like Nasar.

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“This task helped us a bit. We come and collect approximately 10 to 15 kilos (of plastic bottles), we receive about 12 Egyptian pounds ($0.7682) for each,” Nasar said as he sat in his ship collecting bottles.