Amidst the rising global pollution that has been affecting our earth, beaches and marine life have been badly damaged due to plastics ending up in the ocean. This is where “The Flipflopi” comes along. The 9-meter-long dhow was built reusing 10 tonnes of plastic waste to convince the locals that a change has to be made in how they handle disposing their trash.
Chief boat-builder and captain of The Flipflopi, Ali Skanda said: “That’s why we started this voyage – to reach out to communities in East Africa, and also globally.”
The boat sailed 500 km (311 miles) from the south of Lamu Island, Kenya, to Zanzibar, Tanzania which took two weeks last January 23 to raise awareness of how plastic threatens to destroy oceans and everything else that call it their home. Throughout their journey, the boat had six stops for beach clean-up events and education programs highlighting how pollution affects the seas.
Twenty years ago, Kenya’s beach shores were free of waste and pollution, but tourism increased the usage of plastic bottles and bags, which in turn, has harmed the ocean tremendously.
According to the UN Environment, an estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic has been produced since the 1950’s, and only 9 percent of this has been recycled while another 12 percent that had been incarcerated. The remaining 79% ended up in landfills, dumps and carelessly thrown in public spaces.
Co-founder Ben Morison told the Thomson Reuters Foundation he began working on the project in 2016 “to transmit the message about the impact that plastic is having on marine ecosystems, how this affects us, and most important of all, what we can do about it”.