Peaches, can you imagine a world without white pristine beaches, beautiful aquatic life; sea turtles, cetaceans (dolphins and whales), colorful corals, vibrant coral reefs and crystal clear blue seas? Darkened by hideous plastic flotsam and jetsam that blanket the ocean’s beauty. Dead mangrove forests, hotels, cottages, and poisonous sea food.
Did you know that approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash enters the ocean per year? plastic being the lead.
The thought of it all is menacing. Because sadly, marine animals like sea turtles confuse plastic waste for jelly fish, other marine life and cetaceans consume plastic mistaking it for food. Seafood would then be poison for our consumption. Karma right there!
I mean, what would I do without seafood? The nightmare! Let’s save our oceans. Simply by going green, sustainableliving, choosing biodegradable products over single-use plastics and recycling our plastics. How hard can that be? Worth a challenge starting now.
Ecoworld Watamu is one of the heroes by Watamu Marine Association who took up the initiative to preserve our oceans’ natural beauty by setting up a Community Solid Waste Management Project tackling plastic pollution through beach-cleanups and plastic recycling projects in partnership with the Marine Park Hotels in Watamu, Local Community and Artists with the support of IUCN Netherlands and African Fund for Endangered Wildlife Kenya Ltd. and OceanSole Nairobi.
Ecoworld Watamu is a recycling center in Watamu showcasing different recycling and up-cycling innovations designs. Located in the heart of Dabaso Village and next to Mida Creek in Watamu, Kenya. All of which are worth a tour.
How to get there
From Watamu – Timboni Centre off Watamu Road, I got a TukTuk which charged me about kshs. 300/-. It was raining cats and dogs. But that didn’t stop my adamant self from going. Alternatively, you can email WatamuMarineAssociation, EcoworldWatamu, WatamuSeafaris, or use google map if you have a car.
Thanks to Steve Trott – Project Development Manager Watamu Marine Association – I got to meet Myra Alego – Artist and Educator at Ecoworld Watamu.
She enthusiastically showed me around explaining to me about the recycling projects and the positive impacts it has to the local community. Inspiring most Artists and Artisans in Watamu and other regions to make art and craft from flipflops, plastic wastes and other non-biodegradable flotsam that can be recycled and sold to tourists as souvenirs, which generate income for local community artists.
The gate leading to the Ecoworld recycling art exhibition is made with flipflops.
The opposite gate that leads to the waste sorting landfill is made with metal filled with vertically arranged plastic bottles and jerrycans. That’s where we started our tour.
Waste is collected by the Blue Team; disadvantaged women and youth groups members.
Recycling machinery was purchased for crushing plastic waste and the Blue Team waste collectors and recyclers were formed, made up from impoverished members of local youth and women’s groups. The 25 Blue Team members carry out weekly beach cleanups and work to keep the village roadsides free of rubbish. They are mostly sponsored by local hotels and businesses which sustains their operations. – Watamu Marine Association
Waste is sorted into Wine bottles, plastic bottles, buckets and other beach trash.
From the landfill, we then proceeded to the the recycling Art exhibition. Attracting my view, was a stunning dolphin glass art wall design made from wine glasses ‘Bottlenose Dolphin’ by Andrew MacNaughton Beach Artist and Sculptor up-cycled from over 1,000 glass bottles at the Watamu Recycling Centre. It was eye candy!
Wine bottles are up-cycled as windows, wall bricks and floor art bricks in construction and garden borders.
What I found more interesting was the cement and plastic bottles bricks walls; Filling plastic bottles with soil to make them strong, then made into the size of a brick ready to fill the cement puzzles. Beautiful!
Plastic Bottle Wall Art Construction on the inside
The end result is colorful, popping the building with a vibrant ambiance. It also serves as an inexpensive DIY construction technique for locals. According to Myra, this construction technique has proven to be weather resistant, strong and long-lasting. For example, during a fire outbreak, plastic would melt and the soil acts as a fire extinguisher. Such genius and creative innovation is what we truly need; Sustainable solutions to the local problem of marine litter and plastic waste in order to achieve a circular economy by Ecoworld Watamu.
More eye-candy mesmerized me with exquisite art walls and frames, and sculptors made from recycled and up-cycled beach trash.
Art and Sculptors Made From Flipflops a.k.a Curios.
Art made from Toothbrushes.
Art made from plastic bottle tops
Up-cycled Wine bottle Art Decor
Art made from Plastic body and hair shampoo bottles, lighters and other beach flotsam.
Recycled Aluminium Art
As we were heading towards the recycling machine room, I met two artists polishing flipflops. They presented to me a pie-chart art which showcased the percentage of each trash sample that is found in the ocean.
Recycling machinery for crushing plastic waste
Then, Myra ushered me into the recycling room where magic happens. Admittedly, it was my first time seeing a plastic crushing machine.
Firstly, Plastic waste is machine-crushed.
Plastic waste is then sorted, re-purposed and sold to recycling companies. That is how their income is generated.
So many beautiful colors produced ready for recycling!!
Travel Tips: When you visit the magical Watamu, pass by Ecoworld Watamu or Watamu Marine Association to have a view of this wonderful recycling center for inspiration and recycling ideas in conserving the environment through beautiful art made from trash. Let’s get recycling!
“In 2019 we aim to recycle 100,000kg (100 metric tons) of plastic and glass waste which will significantly reduce the waste stream flowing to landfill sites and remove marine litter from our beaches.” Ecoworld Watamu.
I would like to thank the Ecoworld Watamu team, Steven Trott and Myra Alego for making this tour successful.
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Reuse | Reduce | Recycle