24 Jan 2019 Press release Cities and lifestyles

Clean Seas-Flipflopi expedition hits the waves to beat plastic pollution

Lamu, 24 January 2019 – Kenya’s revolutionary Clean Seas-Flipflopi expedition – a boat made entirely from re-used plastic collected on beach clean-ups – set sail this morning, kicking off the first leg of its journey towards Zanzibar. The day before the departure, the crew got their sails ready for the journey cheered on by the local community and members of the press.

“We left Lamu in the early hours of the morning under fair winds and energy from our heartwarming send-off. We were taken away by the numbers of people from the community and beyond that came to support the launch of the boat and took the opportunity to clean their beaches and display their own innovative spirit,” Flipflopi co-founder Dipesh Pabari said.

“The miniature sailing dhows that the children in Lamu have been making from recycled materials for years is testimony to the spirit of innovation that is so inherent in our culture. And equally important is the determination of the communities to address the menace of plastic pollution that has changed the landscape all across the coastline, as we take this plastic revolution across the Indian Ocean.”

The CleanSeas – Flopflopi team will make several stops along the coast on their way to Zanzibar, spreading awareness and solutions to beat pollution to coastal communities, schools and government officials along the way.

The first half of the journey will see the expedition stop in Malindi, Watamu and Kilifi, the before arriving in Mombasa on 28-29 January, where the arrival of the Flipflopi in Mombasa will highlight some of the most effective policy measures that the government of Kenya is undertaking in the fight against plastic pollution. UN Environment is working together with the Mombasa county government to finalize their waste management strategy and closing the Kiribani dumpsite, which feeds into the Mombasa harbour.

As one of its top priorities in Africa, UN Environment is working together with countries to share best practices on how to implement better waste management strategies across the continent. By closing the dumpsite and turning the site into a public park, Mombasa is set to be part of a wider movement supporting UN Environment’s push to beat pollution.

At the final stop in Stone Town, Zanzibar, on February 7th, the expedition will be welcomed by Siim Kiisler, President of the UN Environment Assembly, during the Sauti za Busara music festival. The events there will include a cultural education program, a mass beach cleanup, and the recording of a special ‘plastic song’ and music video together with Conservation Music.

About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the global environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. 

About Clean Seas

UN Environment launched the Clean Seas campaign in February 2017, with the aim of engaging governments, the general public, civil society and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic litter. By connecting individuals, civil society groups, industry and governments, UN Environment aims to transform habits, practices, standards and policies around the globe to dramatically reduce marine litter and the harm it causes.

About the Flipflopi Project: 

The Flipflopi project was founded in 2016 by Ben Morison who was inspired to come up with the idea after witnessing the shocking quantities of plastic on Kenya’s beaches. Kenya saw the launch of the world’s first 100% recycled plastic and flip-flop boat into the Indian Ocean in 2018. The project is aptly named the Flipflopi Project, due to its construction using thousands of repurposed flip-flops and plastic collected on beach clean-ups along the Kenya coast.

For more information, contact:

Shari Nijman, UN Environment News and Media, nijman[at]un.org, +254(0) 720673046

Moses Osani, UN Environment News and Media, [email protected]