THE WAVE TOOK IT AWAY
THE WAVE TOOK IT AWAY
In these days when I am living the last days of summer, the beaches are slowly starting to belong to their owners and the sunsets to their regulars. There are beach classics that happen every summer. Umbrellas flying in the wind, items lost in the sand and of course slippers taken away by the waves…
Where are those lost slippers now? The world’s first sailing ship was made not only from slippers that slipped unconsciously in the sea, but from all waste slippers. Now it’s time to get on those flip-flops and set sail…
The ‘Flipflopi ship’ is the first ship made from recycled plastic. She sails to Lake Victoria in Kenya to promote an awareness campaign on plastic pollution. Activists on board will meet business leaders, community leaders and even schoolchildren in three countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) on their journey. Their aim is to highlight the impact of pollution on both the lake environment and human health. The Flipflopi movement has already made multiple voyages with this unique vessel over the past four years. The rainbow-coloured 9-metre-long sailboat is made from 9 tons of waste collected from local beaches, including 30,000 multi-coloured flip-flops.
Over the past four years, the movement has joined forces with organizations such as the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) to advocate against marine pollution. They also created innovation centers and circular economy start-ups. “We actually set up waste management projects in Lamu, on Kenya’s South Coast, and now we’re opening one in Kisumu with recycling machines,” says Dipesh Pabari, co-founder of the FlipFlopi project. “Our goal now is to see if we can promote a circular economy that surrounds waste.”
The founders of the FlipFlopi project hope to create a movement where people use recycled waste to build boats and other ships. “Over time, our hope is to create a ‘Jua Kali’ industry industry, where people can build small boats, traditional boats, canoes, ngalawas, jahazes from recycled waste,” Pabari says.
We’ll see how possible this will be. However, the public and awareness dimension of the work is very important. It is obvious that this boat, which is made of waste plastic slippers that sails and circulates constantly, makes a sound and attracts attention. Perhaps very soon, many vehicles will start to be made from waste plastics and even be considered as mass production.
We hear and see super initiatives related to recycling. We hope that these initiatives will increase and as a conscious society we will make more efforts to protect our world and contribute to the economy. It’s not just humanity, of course. The thing is, we are impatient to sail on the open seas with a sailboat made of plastic waste, where we are alone with all natural life and nature, on equal terms.