Too often we write articles criticizing third world countries for the overload of plastic debris in our oceans. While it is true that the greatest amount of plastic waste originates in a few Asia countries, today’s inspiring video demonstrates that people living in those developing countries are intimately aware of plastic pollution and how it impacts their daily lives. Oftentimes the fishing folk and others that rely on the ocean for their livelihood are especially aware. And they can come up with some very creative solutions.
Meet Ahmed of Lamu!
Ahmed Bakari is a boatbuilder living on Lamu island just off the coast of Kenya. He is building his 60 ft long boat using traditional methods with very un-traditional materials. What is he using? Flip flops and plastic debris that are washed up on his beach in front of his workshop. Ahmed says that incorporating plastic in the construction of his boat actually makes it better, allowing it to float more easily.
But Ahmed is also very aware of the environmental cost of plastic pollution in the oceans and how it impacts the fish that the local fishermen in his village depend on. To raise awareness of the impact of environmental pollution and to promote a message of reduce, re-use and recycle, Ahmed’s craft will sail 5250 kilometers from Lamu, Kenya down the coast of the Indian Ocean to Capetown.
Flip Flops into Fanciful Artwork
In Flip Flop Facts we reported on how Kenyans along the coast were taking “washed ashore” flip flops and turning them into artwork. Flip flops are a cheap and easily replaceable footwear that much of the third world treads on. But when they end up in the ocean they are a plague, harmful to marine life and seabirds. Flip flops have been found in large quantities in all of the five ocean gyres, those massive floating islands of plastic debris. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and Japan, is now estimated to be double the size of Texas. (photo -CNN)
By Robert Frerck, Blue Ocean Network
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