In June 2018, a report from The World Economic Forum described how the world’s oceans are polluted with various non-biodegradable materials with more or less 8 million tons of them dumped into the oceans each year. The most common of these come in the form of single-use plastics but rubber flip-flops, mostly created from ethylene vinyl acetate, polyurethane and other plastics, also contribute to the destruction of our oceans and the shores they wash up on.
A staggering 3 billion people, half of which come from Asian countries, use flip flops as daily footwear due to their affordability; a huge portion of those end up in rivers that in turn flow into the oceans. Numbers show that 90% of the rubbish polluting our oceans come from only 10 rivers systems: Eight of which come from Asia: the Yangtze; Indus; Yellow; Hai He; Ganges; Pearl; Amur and Mekong . Discarded flip-flops not only pollute the countries that they come from domestically, but they also affect Africa’s and South America’s Eastern shores.
In 2017 alone, 520,000 flip-flops were collected off the beaches in Kenya.
At the recently concluded G7 summit of world economic leaders held in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, several member governments have agreed to reduce plastic usage in their countries in an active effort to prevent the current ocean plague from destroying our marine natural resources.
But what else can we do with the rubbish already in our oceans?
Francis Mutua, a Kenyan artist, has found a way to raise awareness about these ocean pollutants while providing livelihood to his countrymen by converting the discarded flip-flops into beautiful works of art.
Since 2005, Francis Mutua and his organization, Ocean Sole, have positively influenced many by collecting as much as 1000 tons of discarded flip-flops from Kenya’s ocean and waterways, providing income to the 150+ members who collect, clean and transform them into colourful sculptures.
10% of Ocean Sole’s revenue from the sale of the art pieces go into funding other marine conservation programmes.
Watch the video below:
Credits: True Activist