When the Kenyan government introduced the most talked about draconian ban of plastic bags on 28 August 2017, threatening up to four years’ imprisonment or fines of $40,000 (£31,000) for anyone producing, selling – or even just carrying the material, many thought “well this is crap”. Craaap? Not for Ali Skanda.

Ali is the Chief builder of the first ever dhow made from flip-flops and plastic waste collected along the Kenyan coastal line. Sounds insane!! Not so many are talking about Mr. Ali who was recognized as a hero by the state for his revolutionary vision.The Lamu born genius is passionate about his heritage and about preserving the health of the oceans both for marine life and coastal peoples worldwide, I later come to realize.

The flip-flopi expedition

Built on the island of Lamu and backed by UNEP Clean Seas Initiative, the world’s very first 100% recycled plastic dhow has a commenced a sailing journey marking its first overseas expedition. The journey which started on 24th of January 2019 is set to be 500Kms long with Lamu being the ignition point all the way to Zanzibar.The aim remains raising awareness about marine plastic pollution.

The Flip-Flopi as it is known will sail south along the coasts of Kenya stopping in Watamu, Kilifi, Mombasa and Diani, before crossing into northern Tanzania with planned stops on Pemba Island, and on wards into Stone Town, Zanzibar. The voyage will take between 12 and 14 days.

The Flip-flopi team will be visiting schools, communities and government officials along the way sharing solutions and changing mindsets on the significance of a free plastic environment.

“This was never really about the boat - we simply want to demonstrate that single use plastic doesn’t make sense. We hope people around the world are inspired to find their own ways to re-purpose ‘already-used’ plastic” Said the expedition team.