A Lamu carpenter who built a boat from waste plastics has been recognised by the UN Environment. Ali Skanda comes from a family of carpenters and dhow builders.
UN Environment lauded his innovation saying it is a lesson for the entire world.
The project, aptly named the FlipFlopi, used thousands of flip-flops and ocean plastic collected on beach clean-ups along the Kenyan coast for the construction of the prototype.
“The campaign brought together people around the world in their efforts to address the issue of plastic pollution on their shorelines, riverbeds and in their own communities,” UN Environment said yesterday in a statement.
Through the Clean Seas campaign, UN Environment has been at the forefront in addressing marine litter.
Skanda said he was proud to be a guide to the world during this challenging time for the environment.
“I congratulate my team on their professionalism in this unusual and challenging mission and extend my gratitude to the many supporters worldwide who have helped make the world’s first recycled plastic dhow set sail, ”he said.
Kenya banned plastic carrier bags in 2017 through a gazette notice dated February 28.
It banned “the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging”, which fall into two categories: carrier bags and flat bags.
The ban took effect on August 28. Anyone violating the ban faces a one to two year jail-term or a Sh2 million to Sh4 million fine.
Skanda said the waste was melted and poured into the hollow section of the dhow.
Weighing nearly 50 tonnes, the dhow is four and half metres high and 18 metres in length.
To make the dhow bright and beautiful, some 20,000 flip-flops were then glued to the outer side of the dhow.
Environment experts say there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish by 2050.
The Flipflopi project was founded in 2016 by Ben Morison after witnessing the shocking quantities of plastic on Kenya’s beaches, an area where he spent much of his childhood.
Morison says he saw an opportunity to create something visually engaging and fun, which would help communicate the impact and action on marine litter.
By using only locally available resources and low-tech solutions in the creation of the Flipflopi Boat – the project has been able to demonstrate solutions that can be scaled up in local communities.
Courtesy :The Star Kenya
Morison said the project has always been about encouraging change in a positive way.
“So, we hope people around the globe are inspired by our beautiful multicolored boat and find their own ways to repurpose ‘already-used’ plastics,” he said.