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Boat made out of slippers to be launched in Kenya

It is expected to use over 30 tonnes of recycled plastic waste  and close to 200 000 discarded flip-flops collected from the Kenyan coast line.

By Joyce Kimani, editorial@alleastafrica.com

NAIROBI – In a bid to curb the plastic bug menace eating up the ocean, Kenya is constructing the world’s first dhow made entirely from plastic waste collected in the Kenyan beaches.

Dubbed Muli, the pioneering  60 feet sailing boat is made from flip flops, which are not only colorful but are the most common items found littered on the beaches.

The boat will be sailed from Kenya to south Africa in January 2018  in bid to create awareness about the single use  of plastics as well as to portray alternative use for the flops.

It is expected to use over 30 tonnes of recycled plastic waste  and close to 200 000 discarded flip-flops collected from the Kenyan coast line.

A 2016 report published by the World Economic Forum indicates that in 2050 oceans will have more plastics than fish.

Project leader Ben Morrison said the building and the expedition is a major of way creating awareness and initiating changes in how single use plastics are used globally.

He termed the use of plastic rubber soles as a manmade menace to the fragile ecosystem.

“Though plastic is remarkably durableand a useful material, if disposed careless it can create an environmental disaster and uncontrolled leads to death,” he added.

“Thousands and thousands of flip-flops are washed up onto the East African coast line creating an environmental disaster. The rubber soleschoke aquatic life once swallowed by fish and even obstruct turtle hatching from reaching the sea,” he added.

A 2016 report published by the World Economic Forum indicates that in 2050 oceans will have more plastics than fish.

Produced by Elllen Mac Arthur Foundation, the report indicates that plastic production will increased to 1.124 billiontonnes by 2050.

Currently eight million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year.

James Wakibia, an environmental activist who has been championing for the ban of plastic bags through the #ISupportBanPlasticsInitiative hailed the move, saying there was urgent need to seek alternative options to the current disaster.

“If we can control 70 percent of the plastics in the country we can reduced environmental pollution by three quarters. Plastic bags, bottles and rubber are the worst pollutants and are responsible for the current eyesore experienced in the lakes and ocean. At the Nakuru National Park, 20 tonnes of plastic bags are collected annually, choking wildlife and marine life,” he added.

Dr Emily Mwangi, an environmental expert from Nakuru hailed the initiative, citing that most Kenyans we ignorant of the fact that when one threw trash in the ocean it would eventually be swept to another beach.

“We still have some people who feel that the ocean is one big dustbin and are comfortable creating a dumping site inside it. However, with such a project one still get shocked at how much can be done with the trash collected  on the beach and a full standing boat is perhaps the best evidence of their careless actions,” she added.

Ms Mwangi challenged county governments to install trash cans along the beach, pointing out that many people who went for picnics could not get bins to throw away their garbage.

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