Diani Beach Collection

[vc_custom_heading text=”Getting Started” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”]

We were fortunate enough to get in touch with Dipesh Pabari who pioneered the flipiflopi dhow project. It was through his financial aid, and strategic partnerships that we were able to set up a Plastiki Rafiki Network Member.

The first task was to haul the machines namely the shredder, the compressor and the injector machines. This was done using a Kenyan cargo service G4S.

As part of the benefits of joining the plastiki rafiki network, we sent two of our club members, Amani and Phares, to give free training to the guys from Kwale Plastic Plus Collectors who would be running the machines.

[vc_custom_heading text=”Setting Up” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”]

We were extremely pleased to be staying with Susan Scull-Carvalho, the founder of Kwale Plastic Plus Collectors, a wonderful lady who has mastered the art of sustainable social enterprise.

The Kwale Plastic Plus Collectors run a trash collection service in Diani. What distinguishes them, is the fact that the trash bins are named depending on the type of material. Plastic, glass, metal, and paper. The locals around the bin can then deposit their waste over there depending on the type. This effectively makes the it segrated source. The segregated waste is then transported

Collection of the plastic, sorting,

[vc_custom_heading text=”The Diani Beach Cleanup” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”]

We were in the process of getting the machines up and running

The Diani Beach Cleanup, is one of its kind where local community members from schools and from the beach men come together to clean up the beaches of Diani which, unbeknownst to many is voted the number one beach in Africa.

It was a glamorous event attended by politicians of the area and even publicized by local media.

It consisted of collecting mainly plastic from the beaches, but also other waste forms like glass, paper and metals. The waste collected is then tallied and stored in the KPPC Depot. It is also an awareness day as those involved are exposed to the danger that an unkempt beach can cause.

Some of the dangers include:

  •  Danger to local fauna like Sea turtles who ingest the plastic which leads to degradation of existing eco-systems.
  • Tourist income reduced due to ugly effects of scattered (yet recyclable) trash.
  • Fish that are sold in markets can have traces of plastic waste poisoning the locals.

This change of mindset is important. Potentially it is the most powerful habit changer.

[vc_custom_heading text=”The Sea Turtle Beach Festival” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”]

The next event that Plastiki Rafiki got to be a part of was the annual Sea Beach Turtle Festival organized by the Marine Center at the Alliance Safari Beach Hotel.

The event was full of fun games and activities including scavenger hunts, quizzes and even a silent auction. It was also a very eventful occasion for newly formed Plastiki Rafiki Diani where we got a chance to exhibit and even sell some of our products. In total 100 dollars worth of goods was sold. This was a huge success. This means that ten maybe twenty people from all around the world are wearing or using our products and spreading the story of plastic recycling in Kenya.

[vc_custom_heading text=”Hicks and Challenges” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:center” google_fonts=”font_family:Open%20Sans%3A300%2C300italic%2Cregular%2Citalic%2C600%2C600italic%2C700%2C700italic%2C800%2C800italic|font_style:700%20bold%20regular%3A700%3Anormal”]

It wasn’t however all glamorous. It was expected that there would be a lot of learning points and challenges to overcome. From butting heads to missing parts it was all there in that short two week period. Some of our more grave problems we faced and our learning points thereafter are resumed below.

Workshop setup can’t be perfect in the beginning

It was hard, coming from The International School of Kenya where tools and machines were available in plenty. One could really see the time consuming manual labour it would consist to do some of the more nuanced tasks such as sanding the beach paddle balls without a belt sander or using the injection machine without high grade latex gloves. Prompting us for example to try and outsource a local flip flop artisan (who happened to have worked on the flipiflopi dhow as well).to make the balls for us.

In short, it was very hard to compare the machines we have at ISK with the convinience they lent us, with the machines at our disposal in Diani. For example, the jigsaw to cut the boards of plastic could not be compared to the table saw we use back in Nairobi.

This was however overcome as the need created creative ways to get around the handicap.

Electricity Issues with Compressor Machine

The other issue was the constant shorting out of the compressor machine. For reasons we were not made aware of, the electrical setup in the room where the machines were, was faulty. This caused multiple blowing of the fuse and prompted Phares (who is also a welder) to have to pop open the back of the oven and for an electrician to weld it all together. This was frustrating as this would happen even mid-use.

Another thing was getting, in the first place, an electrician or a welding machine or a simple chisel and stone hammer. This took time.

Apart from all this, the outcome really can’t compare, it was all worth it! As this is being written, the host hotel have already ordered for some clocks and beach paddles, which is quite amazing.

The danger of plastic is real and hopefully the little strides we are making here are helping in one way or another. At the very least, situated where it is in an education center, it will be food for thought to anyone who passes by who just like us can adapt and reinvent!

 

 

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