Flipflopi to set up a first-of-its-kind waste material recovery facility in the Indian Ocean region
In a voyage to map the impact of marine waste in the Lamu archipelago of the Western Indian Ocean, Flipflopi, the world’s first sailing dhow made entirely from discarded plastic has collaborated with members of the international scientific community on Monday. The partnership aims at assessing the impact of marine plastics on the environment while hoping to support local communities to find solutions to manage this waste through the creation of closed-loop waste management systems. Through this system, waste items can be recycled and made into new products.
The ocean is everyone's business
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According to a 2021 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report, out of the 400 million tonnes of plastic produced annually, approximately 11 million tonnes flow into aquatic ecosystems every year. And with no actions currently being taken, this number is expected to nearly triple by 2040. In 2018 alone, impacts of plastic pollution on tourism, fisheries, and aquaculture with other costs such as those of clean-ups, were estimated to be at least $6-$19 billion globally.
In many parts of the world, there is still limited data on plastic built every year, the Flipflopi team and partners will conduct scientific research to map the extent of macroplastics, microplastics and microfibres in the ocean and on the shorelines. Despite housing some of the lowest plastic emitting countries in the world, more than 97,000 tonnes of plastic wastage is expected to wash ashore in affected countries every year.
They will also run a series of events to expand local communities' understanding of the impact of plastic pollution and showcase needful solutions. This also includes the development of a plastic boat building industry.
A plastic revolution in the making
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The research will be used to understand the common types of plastic waste accumulating on the coastline and map the areas of the accumulation. The baseline study will be used to inform probable interventions and innovative solutions to promote job creation while also cleaning up the environment through the Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP) Programme.
Flipflopi, In partnership with UK Aid, will also be anchoring the results of the research to establish a first-of-its-kind waste material recovery facility in the Lamu archipelago, together with a local community outreach programme.
What is a closed-loop waste management system?
It is the process by which a product is used, recycled, and then made into a new product. However, there is a special category of waste that can only be used under the closed-loop recycling process, Aluminium cans, some types of plastic and glass. The system also makes sure that the waste product never enters a landfill in its lifetime.