On the 29th of January 2019, the KTF Environment Committee and Ecotourism Kenya teamed up with the UN Environment to create awareness on the Plastic Pollution along the East Africa Coast, under the clean seas initiative, in an event held at Jomo Kenyatta Beach in Mombasa. The UN Environment launched the Clean Seas Initiative, in February 2017 with the aim of engaging governments, the general public, and the private sector in the fight against marine plastic pollution. Addressing the root-cause of marine litter, targets the production and consumption of non-recoverable and single-use plastic. To do this effectively citizens, businesses and other stakeholders need to be made aware, engaged and play an active role in addressing the problem in their daily lives and beyond.
The event was preceded by the docking of Flipflopi. The Flipflopi is a dhow made entirely from recycled waste materials i.e. waste plastic and flip-flops, mainly from Lamu beaches; using traditional methods. It measures 10 meters and weighs 5 tonnes; and it’s quite a spectacle. The keel, ribs and structural elements are all made from recycled plastic, including bottles and bags, whilst the hull and decking is covered completely by re-purposed flip-flops. On the day of the event, locals, tourism players, government representatives and other stakeholders were present to view this great piece of innovation and take a ride in it. Backed by UN Environment’s Clean Seas Initiative, and as part of its advocacy for the recycling and re-use of single use plastics, the Flipflopi is already sailing around Lamu and regional waters.It was built by Ali Sakanda and a team of volunteers, who were all present at the event in Mombasa. It was launched in Lamu at Ali’s boat yard – in September 2018. The launch was graced by dignitaries including Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala and Lamu County Governor Fahim Twaha and local residents of Lamu, who had either participated in or witnessed beach clean ups in the Island.
Status of pledges made by Hotels to the Initiative
Seventeen hotels pledged to join the initiative, marking a major milestone towards beating plastic pollution. It’s important to note that out of the seventeen accommodation facilities, the first eight are certified under the Ecotourism Kenya’s Eco-rating Certification Scheme. The seventeen hotels include:
- Serena Beach Resort and Spa
- Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa
- Afro Chic Diani
- The Sand at Nomad
- Baobab Beach Resort and Spa
- Medina Palms
- Turtle Bay Beach Club
- Severin Sea Lodge
- Tamarind Mombasa
- Lantana Galu Beach Resort
- Kenya Bay Beach Hotel
- Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa
- Liwa Beach Club
- The Sands at Chale Island
- Leisure Lodge Beach Resort and Spa
- Swahili Beach Resort
- Distant Relatives Eco-lodge and Backpackers
The facilities listed above have pledged to support UN Environment’s efforts to create a plastic-free East African Coastline, by committing to:
- Remove all plastic straws
- Replace all plastic bottles with sustainable alternatives
- Educate and inspire their employees and guests to combat plastic pollution.
About Ecotourism Kenya
Ecotourism Kenya is a business membership association directly serving more than 350 members, and reaching out to hundreds more in Kenya. Since its inception in 1996 Ecotourism Kenya has been involved in a wide range of activities that promote and broaden the industry understanding of sustainable tourism, and attract membership beyond the mainstream tourism industry. Ecotourism Kenya has had many firsts; it was the first Ecotourism Society in Africa; the first to develop a voluntary certification scheme for hotels/lodges in Africa, the first to publish a Green Directory of producers of green products and services, the first to develop a customized sustainability standard for Tour Operators in East Africa and the first to develop Green Destination Guidelines in Africa.
About Kenya Tourism Federation
The Kenya Tourism Federation is constituted by seven active private sector bodies, representing the associations of Ecotourism Kenya, Tour Operators, Hotel Keepers and Caterers, Travel Agents, Air Operators, and Mombasa and Coast Tourism. The key objectives of KTF are to: provide a single voice for the tourism industry, enhance ethics and standards in the tourism industry, strengthen the private sector representation on the various organizations/boards that impact tourism industry, provide a forum through which the industry can give input to the marketing activities of the Kenya Tourism Board, and to lobby and constructively engage Government on issues critical to the industry.