KENYA: The world first sailing boat made from 100 per cent recycled plastic has set sail across Lake Victoria on a campaign to address plastic pollution on waters.
The tour is in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The voyage which is around Africa’s largest freshwater ecosystem will include several stops along the lake engaging community leaders, conservationists, business leaders and policymakers demonstrating alternate uses of waste plastic and other circular waste models caiing for an end to single-use plastics.
The campaign would also involve demonstrating alternate uses of waste plastic and other circular waste model calling for an end to single use plastics.
Lake Victoria is said to be supporting over 40 million East Africans, through food supply and livelihoods.
The huge number of people accessing the Lake have had negative effect on the lake giving rise to water pollution which threatens the health and livelihoods of communities around the Lake.
A recent study estimated that 1 in 5 of the fish in Lake Victoria had ingested plastic.
Another recent study also recorded microplastics in surface waters in several sites of Lake Victoria.
The Flipflopi is an initiative showcasing alternative uses of plastic waste and the possibilities of circular economy approaches.
The Flipflopi is an example of innovative circular solutions applied at a national level to the pollution challenge and is made to raise awareness and inspiring communities to adopt circular-waste solutions to beat plastic pollution.
Co-founder of the Flipflopi project and builder of the world’s first recycled plastic dhow, Ali Skanda said that the bait was built to show the world that it is possible to make valuable materials out of waste plastic.
“We are trying to show people that the single-use plastic really does not make sense. By sailing around the lake, we aim to inspire people to create their own waste-plastic innovations and adopt circular solutions that will build greener businesses, whilst also taking plastic out of the environment.
“Together with communities across the Lake Victoria region we hope to bring awareness and innovative solutions to beat pollution and support a green recovery in East Africa”, he said.
Stakeholders Speak about Flipflopi and the Sailing Expedition
The Governor of Kisumu County in Kenya, Anyang’ Nyong’o said that the government is interested in making investments that are lake friendly.
“This Lake, Nam Lolwe, matters to me. It must matter to us all. Investing in research and development on blue economy investments, improving the health of the lake and riparian environment while ensuring that investments are ‘lake friendly’ from inception are amongst my priorities.”
The Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Joyce Msuya noted that UNEP is proud to see Flipflopi start the journey around Lake Victoria.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need to address the myriad environmental crises, which can only be done through regional and global consensus on key issues like single-use plastic, and climate change.
“Flipflopi is a great African example of the circular economy in action.we are proud to see it start this new journey around Lake Victoria, a shared resource that we must do all we can to protect.”