The Flipflopi expedition will use plastic waste to build a 60ft sailing boat that will sail 5,000kms from Lamu to Cape Town.

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Plastic waste remains an infamous problem in Kenya. The Kenyan government is attempting to ban their use from August – with implications for businesses from supermarkets to recyclers.

Down in the Kenyan coast, environmentalists are constructing the world’s first dhow made entirely from plastic waste collected in the beaches of Indian Ocean. Whereas, This Is Africa reports, A Cameroonian non-governmental organisation has found a way to recycle waste plastic bottles by making boats. Yes, boats and not only is he preserving the environment but also helping fishermen in his community with a cheaper way of earning a living.

On the 28th of January 2017 at the beach of Lamu, the building phase of the Flipflopi Project was launched. The world’s first Dhow made entirely from “already used” plastic waste that we’ve collected from the beaches and towns of Kenya.

Ali Skanda, head of the build, gave an introduction to the project, as well as some background to the issue of plastic waste in Lamu.

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

Sam Ngaruiya, of Regeneration Africa in Malindi explains the process by which his team transformed plastic bought from street collectors along the Kenya coast, into the strong structure parts of the boat that were on display.

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

Project Leader, Ben Morison on why this project? “Because they are among the most common items found littering beaches and towns in Kenya – and also because they are a perfect platform for positive communication about single-use plastics in our lives today). And why do all this in the first place? (A: the build and the expedition are creating a platform to raise awareness and create changes in how single-use plastics are used globally – starting with Kenya.)

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

After that, there were 3 main things for people to see. 

FIRSTLY; underneath a shaded gazebo, they presented some background information about the project… 

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures…and they also launched our #bottletopbingo initiative with a display of plastic bottletops found in Lamu. #Bottletopbingo – one of a number of initiatives aimed at raising awareness of plastic pollution and what ordinary people can do to take a stand. 

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

SECONDLY – they had a display table with lots of different pieces of recycled plastic. Items on display included posts, planks, floorboards, tiles and signposts.

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

They  also wanted to show visitors how versatile, strong & attractive recycled plastic could be.

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

THIRDLY, invited guests had to have walk around, or step aboard, two enormous (& beautiful) wooden dhows being serviced on the beach – the Tunda and Salsibila.  

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

Ben showing visitors inside the hull of a big dhow.

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

FINALLY, the last act of the launch day as a bit of theatre:  

….the symbolic raising of the Muli (the bow – or front – of the boat).  At 5 metres high, and weighing close to a tonne, it is one impressive piece of plastic.   

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

Firstly it was manually moved into position by Ali and his team (Hassan, Ahmed, Fundi Bakari, Rashidi and Kassim).  Then, once in position, the Muli was hooked to a chainblock (a manually operated lifting device) and slowly lifted into the upright position… to the sound of much applause, high fives and handshakes all round! 

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

wgNetworks.tv The Flipflopi Expedition: Kenya’s Plastic Battle and how a Plastic Dhow is Setting Sail to Save the Ocean – in pictures

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