The Second International Conference
of the African Marine Waste Network.
Towards Zero Plastics to the Seas of Africa.
23 – 27 MAY 2022

From: Our News

It’s time to change course to secure Africa’s future

"It’s time for action as we have reached a dramatic tipping point in Africa’s massive plastic waste problem...."

It’s time for action as we have reached a dramatic tipping point in Africa’s massive plastic waste problem.

The world’s second most polluted continent is in serious trouble if it does not implement urgent national and regional action plans to manage plastic better and stop it from leaking into the environment.

With most landfills simply uncontrolled dumpsites, an average waste collection rate of just 55%, and a population set to double by 2050, Africa is facing a crisis of huge proportions.

But the Sustainable Seas Trust believes that if we act now, we will be able to change course to secure our future, as well as that of future generations.

Between May 23 and 27, the Sustainable Seas Trust through its African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) will host its second international conference on “Towards Zero Plastics to the Seas of Africa”, in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

The conference will welcome decision-makers from across the plastics value chain, municipal and national government leaders, researchers, and civil society stakeholders, with the aim of providing a platform for developing a homegrown framework to guide the practical actions each African nation or region must take.

Collaboratively developing a dynamic strategic framework that considers the diverse socio-economic realities of the continental and island states of Africa is essential to unlocking the socio-economic opportunities innate to good waste management and recycling practices.

“Africa’s current waste management systems cannot cope with the types and tonnages of waste being generated,” warns Professor Linda Godfrey, principal scientist at the CSIR and lead author of UN Environment Programme’s Africa Waste Management Outlook.

“We have poor waste collection and disposal, increasing uncontrolled dumping, and open burning of waste. With expected rates of population growth, urbanisation, and a growing middle class, we’re likely to see significant growth in waste generation, on the back of a broken system. All of this results in the leakage of waste and the resultant pollution of our land, water and air,” she says.

The goals of the conference are to bring together African minds and to facilitate the crafting of clear and appropriate national and regional action plans for the countries and islands states to curb the volume of plastic entering the environment, and to clean up and recycle – for the continent’s economic and health benefit – plastics already in the environment.

“We need to support African initiatives developed by African people,” says SST founding trustee and current CEO and director of AMWN Dr Tony Ribbink.

  • For more information, or to register for the conference, visit: https://conference.sst.org.za/
  • Missed the pre-conference workshop series? Listen to a recording here.
  • Sign up for updates on the conference here.

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