FlipFlopi launches first ever prototype of marine-litter boat in Kenya


Amid the rising momentum to beat plastic pollution globally, Kenya on Saturday saw the launch of the world’s first 100% recycled marine plastic boat into the Indian Ocean. The project, aptly named the FlipFlopi, used thousands of repurposed flip-flops and ocean plastic collected on beach clean-ups along the Kenyan coast for the construction of the prototype.
After completion of trails at sea, the Flipflopi prototype will be embarking on a groundbreaking 500km expedition from Kenya’s Lamu island to Zanzibar in Tanzania. Departing early 2019, the team will be visiting schools, communities and government officials along the way – sharing messages on how to beat plastic pollution and contribute to conservation.
UN Environment commends the innovative way in which the FlipFlopi creates awareness of the issues around single-use plastics, in line with the successful global campaign to ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ that was launched during World Environment Day 2018. 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. Through the Clean Seas campaign, UN Environment has been at the forefront in addressing marine litter.
“The Flipflopi Project has always been about encouraging change in a positive way, making people smile first and then sharing the very simple message that single-use plastics really don’t make sense.” said Ben Morison, Founder of the Flipflopi Project “To create the Flipflopi boat we used only local available resources and low-tech solutions, enabling our techniques and ideas to be copied without any barriers. So, we hope people around the globe are inspired by our beautiful multi-colored boat and find their own ways to repurpose ‘already-used’ plastics”
“Today we are proud to be a guide to the world and its inhabitants during this vital time of challenge for our ocean environment. I congratulate my team on their professionalism in this unusual and challenging mission and extend my gratitude to the many supporters worldwide who have helped make the world’s first recycled plastic Dhow set sail” said Ali Skanda, the Flipflopi Boatbuilder.
The Flipflopi project was founded in 2016 by Ben Morison after witnessing the shocking quantities of plastic on Kenya’s beaches, an area where he spent much of his childhood. Ben saw an opportunity to create something visually engaging and fun which would help communicate the impact and action on marine litter. By using only locally available resources and low-tech solutions in the creation of the Flipflopi Boat – the project has been able to demonstrate solutions that are scalable in local communities.