(Photo: Flipflopi) It was 6pm when an unusual rainbow-colored boat, made of recycled plastic waste and discarded flip-flops gathered from beaches and roadsides, dropped anchor off the beach at Mtwapa, near Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa. The 9-meter-long dhow, "The Flipflopi", was sailing south along East Africa’s coast to raise awareness of the threat plastics pose to the oceans, said chief boat-builder and captain Ali Skanda. Beaches and marine ecosystems have been badly affected by plastics, Skanda said, adding it was time to change local people’s mindset on how they handle and dispose of waste. "That’s why we started this voyage – to reach out to communities in East Africa, and also globally," he said. The boat’s voyage took it 500 km (311 miles) south from Lamu island in Kenya to Zanzibar in neighbouring Tanzania over two weeks starting on Jan. 23. Along the way the boat made six stops, with its crew joining local people, schools and officials for beach clean-ups and events highlighting the effect of plastic pollution on the seas. The motivation for boat-builder and fisherman Hassan Mohammed, 56, was seeing how much has changed in recent decades. Until 20 years ago, the shore at Mtwapa […]


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