In Summary
  • The 500-kilometre inaugural expedition is supported by the UN Environment’s Clean Seas global campaign.
  • The voyage was inspired by the need to create a visually engaging tool for communities living along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania.
  • In Africa, marine debris represents a potential threat to food security and economic development.

A traditional dhow made entirely from plastic trash collected from Kenya’s beaches and coastal towns will make its maiden voyage later this month from Lamu to Zanzibar.

The 500-kilometre inaugural expedition is supported by the UN Environment’s Clean Seas global campaign on plastic pollution.

It seeks to engage communities living along the East African coast on marine plastic pollution and what can be done about it.

The dhow – the first of its kind in the world – is a nine-metre sailing boat made from 10 tonnes of discarded plastic and highlights the potential for plastic waste to be recycled into meaningful use.

PLASTIC WASTE

The voyage organised by a lobby group seeking to stem the flow of up to 12 million tonnes of plastic waste dumped into oceans every year comes nearly two years after Kenya enacted one of the world’s toughest laws on single-use plastic bags.

According to Ben Morison, the co-founder of the project dubbed Plastic Revolution, the voyage was inspired by the need to create a visually engaging tool for communities living along the coast of Kenya and Tanzania.

After witnessing the shocking quantities of plastic on Kenya’s beaches, Mr Morison started the Flipflopi project to change public perception of plastic.

POSITIVE CHANGE

“The Flipflopi project is about encouraging change in a positive way, making people smile first and then sharing the very simple message that single-use plastics really don’t make sense,” he explained.

Mr Morison says the dhow carrying environmental activists and journalists will start its voyage in Lamu town on January 24 and will be making stops along the way in order to appeal to communities along the way to change the mind-set about plastic waste.

“The boat is expected to arrive in Stone Town in Zanzibar on February 7 where the Flipflopi and Clean Seas teams will meet with Conservation Music at the Busara Music Festival, engaging festival goers in the fight against marine plastic pollution through music and culture,” Mr Morison said.

FOOD SECURITY

In Africa, marine debris represents a potential threat to food security, economic development, and the viability of the marine ecosystems.

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