Stone Town, Zanzibar – welcomed by President of United Nations Environment Assembly

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After 14 days at sea, and sailing over 500km, we arrived at our final destination, the historic port of Stone Town. With high attendance from local and national media, this marked a turning point in the Flipflopi story, as we started to engage the Tanzanian people in the plastic revolution.

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This was a historic moment for the expedition – with the President of UNEA himself, Mr Siim Kiisler, and dignitaries from the Zanzibarian Government attending this high-profile event.

In a message aimed at UN members, governments and future leaders, Mr Kiisler spoke about the need for actions over words:

“It is time to change. Time to embrace the circular economy and reduce the volume of plastics entering our oceans year after year. It’s time to ban single use plastic all over the world.

“We can take this boat to our environment assembly to show to the governments, you just need some will to make changes, to solve different. We can do something, we don’t have to wait for another 6 years writing different strategies, we can act today.”

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And the Minster of State, from the Second Vice President’s office of the Zanzibar Government ended the meeting with a passionate keynote speech and pledge to do more to ban single-use plastic:

“The world and all of us here need to take big steps to make sure we clean the waste, especially plastic. We must turn trash into benefit. To Zanzibar the ocean represents our main economy. If you affect the ocean you affect the economy and our health.”

“We are ready to ban the use of plastic and make sure we are conserving our environment… We are responsible to protect our environment for our children. “

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We ended our journey on a literal high note, arriving in time for Sauti da Busara, ‘African sounds of wisdom’ festival which is a true celebration of our East African culture, creativity and values. Another incredible moment in our #plasticrevolution journey as we partnered with award-winning Conservation Music and StoneTown Records to record a brand new music single by incredible local Zanzibarian music talent, Siti and The Band, about climate change and plastic pollution – and we recorded the music video on the Flipflopi!
We are so proud to be using creativity, innovation and local talent to engage younger generations about the environment and the impact of climate change. 

The momentum in this plastic revolution is building. We have seen extraordinary engagement with this project at every point on the journey – with huge national, regional and international media coverage, an increased social media following, awareness about the plastic revolution has grown exponentially. And more importantly, we have created tangible impact on the way, with >5000 schoolchildren attending our events, and real change happening as it happened in Mombasa with 22 hotels banning single use plastic. And now in Zanzibar, engagement and pledges to change policy by government ministers and the UNEA President.

Now it’s time to think bigger – to take the message further and inspire global change by building our bigger dhow and sailing it around the world. As our founder Ben Morison summed it up:

“My vision starting in East Africa is that we can use this innovation is to inspire global change. Change to how we produce and consume plastic.  To do that we have to build a bigger dhow to sail our innovation to cape town and around the world. The UN clean seas program has a strapline turn the tide on plastic and I can feel that we have started to do this today in Zanzibar.”

Next stop for The Flipflopi is to head to Mombasa where she will be shipped to Nairobi in time for the United Nations Environment Assembly, where we are hugely excited to be featuring as their centre-piece exhibit, representing a clear example of how nations can use innovation and creativity to ‘solve different’ environmental issues.

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Ben Morison