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PHOTO: REUTERS

 

The world’s first dhow made out of recycled plastic has set sail from Lamu in Kenya to Zanzibar. Named Flipflopi, the dhow is made from plastic trash which was collected from the Kenyan coastal towns and beaches. The 14 day trip will see the dhow make stops along the way to raise awareness about the 12 million tonnes of plastic waste being dumped in the ocean every year.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), each year more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic.

Waste plastics, mainly from Lamu’s beaches, were used to construct the entire boat. The keel, ribs and structural elements are all made from recycled plastic including bottles and bags, whilst the hull and decking is covered completely by re-purposed flip-flops

Backed by UNEP Clean Seas Initiative, the Flipflopi sets sail on the first overseas expedition, travelling 500 Kms to raise awareness about marine plastic pollution. The Flipflopi team will also be visiting schools, communities and government officials along the way sharing solutions and changing mindsets.

The Flipflopi is a project run by a volunteer-group that was founded in 2016 by one Ben Morison who was inspired to come up with the idea after witnessing the shocking quantities of plastic on Kenya’s beaches

During the Blue Economy Conference, hosted by Kenya in November 2018, governments committed to protect oceans, seas, lakes and rivers. The FlipFlopi-Clean Seas Expedition comes a month before the next UN Environment Assembly in which more than 150 ministers of environment will gather in Nairobi

The team has been invited to participate in the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi due to take place on the 11th  to 15th  March and will set an  example of what is possible when you think about plastic as re-usable, part of a circular rather than linear economy.

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