New analysis claims plastic waste is “spiralling out of control across Africa” ahead of governments preparing to debate third round of negotiations on UN plastics treaty.
Every minute, enough plastic waste to cover a football pitch is openly dumped or burnt in Sub-Saharan Africa, a new analysis by international relief and development agency Tearfund has found.
Current statistics from the Organisation of Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) also show that the region will produce almost six times more plastic waste in 2060 than it did in 2019. Tearfund says it based its analysis on the figures available on mismanaged plastic waste from the OECD report “Global Policies Outlook: Policies to 2060”, which was released on 21 June 2022.
The figures were revealed as governments prepare for the third stage of the UN plastics treaty negotiations in Nairobi, Kenya from Monday 13 November to Sunday 19 November 2023.
The global treaty could be the first legally binding global agreement on plastic pollution. If negotiations are successful, the treaty could come into force in 2025.
While these negotiations continue, the health of people in Malawi and across Africa is being impacted by plastic pollution every day.
Tearfund will be at the negotiations in Kenya and says it will push for governments to “fully address” the impacts of waste on people living in poverty. To do this Tearfund is calling for legally binding targets to reduce plastic production and scale up reuse solutions; support for waste pickers, including a “just transition”; and mechanisms to ensure businesses and governments take action.
Tearfund partner and campaigner Dr Tiwonge Mzumara-Gawa, from Malawi, who will be at the negotiations in Kenya, commented: “While these negotiations continue, the health of people in Malawi and across Africa is being impacted by plastic pollution every day.
“In Malawi, we see burning and dumping of plastic waste every day, harming people’s health. These negotiations have shown that change is coming, but it will not come easily. There are some who profit from this plastic crisis and want to keep ambition as low as possible.”