Chic African Culture Blog

Did you know?

1. No African country names begin with the letters F, H, I, J, O, P, Q, V, W, X, or Y.

2. Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent.

3. African tech startups raise billions of dollars annually, seven African start-ups were included in the World Economic Forum 2021 cohort of 100 Technology Pioneers.

Africa Flip Flop Pollution Problem

Some bodies of waters in Africa are polluted because of flip flops.

Africa Water Polluted by Flip Flops

One of the largest marine pollutants along Africa's' East coast are cheap plastic foam flip flops but flip flops found littered on beaches and in waterways of Kenya are made into works of African art.

Flip flops found littered on beaches and in waterways of Kenya are made in to works of African art
Elephant made from broken flip flops

Flip flops are one of the largest marine pollutants in the Indian Ocean and her beaches. Tons of broken and discarded flip flops wash up on East African coast each year. These flip flops were dumped in cities and villages and are carried away by sewage systems, rivers and other waterways into Kenyan coastlines every year. 

The union of ocean currents at the tip of the Lamu Archipelago drags thousands of flip flops washed away from beaches around the world onto the sea turtle nesting grounds. 

With driftwood and flip flops littering the beaches, female sea turtles struggle to reach nesting sites and hatchlings, already threatened by a variety of predators that lie between the nest site and the water's edge, often fail to reach the safety of the ocean when faced with piles of debris.

"Over three billion people can only afford flip flops," says Erin Smith of Ocean Sole, "They hang on to them, they fix them, they duct tape them, mend them and then usually discard them." 

"We are actually receivers of pretty much the world's marine pollution, an immense amount of the pollution that appears on East Africa beaches come from thrown away flip flops from Asia, India and China.”

Environmentally friendly way to dispose of flip-flops

Waterways in Africa are greatly polluted because of flip flops. They are one of the largest marine pollutants along Africas' East coast.

Ocean Sole has a team of African artisans in Nairobi Kenya to design sculptures from discarded flip flops into crafty works of art and just as important, a source of income. The African artisans clean the rubber sandals and sort them according to their color. Next, they cut, mold and sand them as they turn the old flip-flops into their eye-catching creations.

Importing flip flops from recycling crews from Kenya including Kibera (Key-bear-a), Kenya’s Largest Slum, broken flip flops are made into animal creations such as the famous 18-foot life-sized giraffe

Artists convert the flip flops into sculptures, jewelry, key rings and other small gifts to sell in local tourist markets and to export around the world. These celebrated upcycled flip flop creations have even made their way into the hands of Pope Francis in 2015.

According to Ocean Sole, "Thousands and thousands of flip flops are washed up onto the East African coast creating an environmental disaster. 

Discarded flip flops not only spoil the natural beauty of African beaches and oceans, the rubber soles are swallowed and suffocated on by fish and other marine life. Flip flops also obstruct turtle hatchlings from reaching the sea and are a man-made menace to Africa’s fragile ecosystems."

The waterways in Africa are greatly polluted because of flip flops
Collecting flip flops

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Africa is surrounded by water but is not an island, here are a few African Island facts.

Madagascar is the 4th large island in the world and is located in the Indian Ocean supporting a unique biology, about 90% of its plants and animals are found nowhere else on earth.

Composed of 155 islands, Seychelles is Africa's smallest country. By far the largest island is Mahe, home to about 90% of the population and the site of its capital city of Victoria.

Cabo Verde has a strategic location 310 miles or 500 km from the west coast of Africa near major north-south sea routes; important communications station; important sea and air refueling site.

Africa is surrounded by water but by definition Africa is not an island because Africa is a continent. Continents can not be considered islands because of their size and also by historic definition since many people who study geography define islands and continents as two different things.

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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My father and mother are historians of African culture and history and their influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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