Tourism operators and conservationists in Watamu are gearing up to welcome FlipFlopi, a traditional dhow made of recycled plastic, to the coastal town on 26th January as she makes a stop-over on her historic maiden voyage from Lamu, Kenya to Zanzibar.
FlipFlopi is the world’s first dhow made from 100% plastic trash collected from beaches and coastal towns. It is scheduled to voyage from Lamu on January 24th and arrive in Zanzibar 14 days later on February 7th, making a number of stops along the way to raise awareness about the over 12 million tonnes of plastic waste being dumped in the ocean every year.
Hemingways Watamu, one of the partners of this initiative, is set to host the FlipFlopi Expedition crew when they stop over at Watamu Marine Park on January 26th during which presentations on clean beaches and recycling will be made.
“We are among the champions of clean oceans with our continued support of beach cleanup exercises along the Watamu coastline. Over the years, we have worked with our fellow community members to clear plastics from our beach and convert them to better use and are actively reducing single-use plastics used in our properties throughout Kenya” said Hemingways Collection Operations Director, Mr. Ross Evans.
Over the years, the 5-star luxury hotel has partnered with the Watamu Marine Park, the Watamu Marine Association and EcoWorld Watamu Recycling Centre to raise awareness about plastic waste and promote the blue ocean economy through recycling and commercialization of the collected waste.
All plastic waste from the hotel is taken to the EcoWorld Watamu recycling center and guests are always encouraged to visit it and support conservation efforts by the local community.
Mr. Evans applauded the FlipFlopi Initiative, terming it a huge boost to ecotourism, the hospitality industry and in pushing forward the blue economy agenda. “We greatly support this initiative in partnership with the UN Clean Seas Campaign as it benefits the ocean’s natural habitat, the society and is in line with Blue Economy and Kenya’s Vision 2030 for sustainable development,” he said.
The Flip flops is a project aimed at stemming the flow of up to 12 million tonnes of plastic waste dumped in the ocean every year. The nine-meter long sailing boat was built out of 10 tonnes of plastic waste and thousands of repurposed flip-flops making a successful launch in September 2018.
The dhow which has now partnered with UN Environment Clean Seas campaign will seek to join nine other African countries in the fight against marine pollution and highlighting the potential of ‘already used’ plastic.