Be the Change You Want to See
For the first time in Africa, international corporates met in conversation with non-profits, governments, and conservation groups from all over the world in dynamic brainstorming sessions and discussions with the same objective; to reduce plastic pollution in our oceans and waterways.
Kenya was proudly represented by The Flipflopi Project, Regeneration Africa, Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute Nairobi Convention and Watamu Marine Association, who were able to demonstrate the collaboration of voluntary community groups working with for profit organizations in a powerful example of recycling and upcycling. Delegates were impressed with the connective message made by the Flipflopi Project and their creation of a 60ft flip-flop dhow made entirely from plastic marine debris, crafted by Regeneration Africa, with trash washed up on the shores of Kenya and collected by various organizations and businesses along the coastline including Watamu Marine Association, The Sands at Nomads, Diving the Crab and others. The dhow’s story will connect Africa further as it is due to set sail end of 2018 from Lamu in Northern Kenya to Cape Town, a total of 5,000 km. Waste taken from the ocean will return to the ocean in a fresh and innovative international awareness campaign entitled the #Plasticrevolution, advocating for a world without single-use plastic.
Sam Ngaruiya, Regeneration Africa, presented the Flipflopi project to the audience and emphasized the need for each person to take responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycled used plastic, and the importance to have a systematic way to collect the waste and process it into useful products. He invited all to join the #Plasticrevolution by recycling and donating to the Fliflopi project.
Watamu Marine Association’s Steve Trott was impressed by the wide spectrum of organisations represented: “It was energising to meet such a large group of influential people from industry, science faculties, NGO’s and the community sector all sharing information and ideas on how to reduce plastic pollution and the global threat of marine waste”
Steve observed that “From a grassroots perspective, creating dynamic waste recycling value chains, local communities in African coastal resort towns can play a significant role….in reducing marine pollution in their local area.”
Dr Julius Francis of Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) was well received by the delegates, discussing the Nairobi Convention and linking the knowledge that emerges from science to management and governance issues that affect marine and coastal ecosystems in the region.
Written by Jane Spilsbury, Watamu Marine Association