Plastic Boat Gains Recognition From UNEP

  • Lamu fishermen on a fishing trip.jpg The Star
  • A Kenya carpenter gained recognition from United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) for building a boat from plastic waste.

    The Dhow from Lamu became the first boat of its kind in the world constructed using flip-flops commonly known as ‘slippers’ and ocean plastics found on the Kenyan coast.

    Ali Skanda is the lead boat builder in the project “Flip-Flopi” that received the honour from UNEP.

    The Flip-Flop Boat
    The Flip-Flop Boat side view

    The carpenter, who hails from a family of boat builders, was praised by UNEP for the creation that the body described as a lesson to be emulated by the rest of the world.

    According to Skanda, the waste was melted and poured into the hollow section of the dhow.

    In an effort to make the boat bright and beautiful, some 20,000 flip-flops were then glued to the outer side hence the name of the project.

    The dhow weighs 50 tonnes with a height of four and a half meters and a length of 18 meters.

    “The campaign brought together people around the world in their efforts to address the issue of plastic pollution on their shorelines, riverbeds and in their own communities,” read a statement from UNEP.

    UNEP has been at the heart of addressing waste found in the ocean through the Clean seas campaign.

    Skanda expressed his joy at the recognition and stated that he was honoured to be a part of the fight against disposal of waste products into the ocean.

    The brain behind the project, Ben Morrison, explained that he came up with the idea of the boat after he noticed a lot of plastic waste along the Kenyan coast.

    “We hope people around the globe are inspired by our beautiful multicoloured boat and find their own ways to re-purpose already-used plastics,” remarked the Flip-Flopi founder.

    Cabinet Secretary of Tourism Najib Balala praised the team when he attended the launch at Lamu island which is a protected world heritage site popular with local and foreign holidaymakers on Kenya’s far north coastline.