The analysis reveals that plastic waste is rapidly increasing and becoming unmanageable in Africa.
The amount of plastic waste in Africa is increasing at an alarming rate, surpassing all other regions according to recent analysis.
According to the charity Tearfund, every minute in sub-Saharan Africa, an amount of plastic waste equivalent to covering a football pitch is either openly dumped or burned, reaching current levels.
If the current pattern persists, the area is estimated to have a total of 116 million tonnes of plastic waste each year by 2060, which is six times greater than the 18 million tonnes produced in 2019. The primary cause of the increasing use of plastic in sub-Saharan Africa, where 70% of the population is under the age of 30, is the growing demand for automobiles and other goods due to rising income and population growth.
By 2060, the global use of plastic is expected to nearly triple.
The soaring demand for plastic predicted across sub-Saharan Africa, where many countries do not have the capacity to manage it, was revealed before a meeting of governments in Nairobi, Kenya, next week to hammer out a UN treaty to fight plastic pollution.
Senior economist at Tearfund, Rich Gower, stated that the indications of environmental deterioration are evident, however, this agreement has the capability to mitigate the plastic crisis and enhance the quality of life for billions of individuals.
“He emphasized that a large amount of plastic in sub-Saharan Africa is in the form of packaging and often gets discarded and incinerated,” he stated. He urged negotiators at the Nairobi summit to reach a consensus on reducing plastic production substantially and to prioritize the involvement of waste pickers, who are responsible for disposing of 60% of the world’s plastic waste.
Without worldwide regulations, individuals residing in developing nations and the individuals who collect and dispose of waste are unfairly affected by the negative consequences of plastic pollution on the environment and their well-being.
Dr Tiwonge Mzumara-Gawa, from Malawi, a waste campaigner who will be at the negotiations in Kenya, said: “While these negotiations continue, the health of people in Malawi and across Africa is being impacted by plastic pollution every day.
Everyday in Malawi, we witness the disposal of plastic waste through burning and dumping, causing harm to the well-being of individuals. These discussions have indicated that progress is on the horizon, however it will not be a simple task. Some individuals are benefitting from this plastic crisis and are resistant to making significant changes.
A letter addressed to the representatives of the Africa Group and other attendees of the Nairobi negotiation, signed by 80 bishops and church leaders, stated that the region is dealing with large amounts of poorly managed plastic waste.
The Dandora landfill site, located a short distance from the UN conference, receives 30 truckloads of plastic waste daily. This creates an ideal environment for mosquitoes, flies, and pests, heightening the chances of contracting diseases like malaria, cholera, and diarrhea.
Before the final round of talks for the plastic treaty in May, John Chweya, leader of the waste pickers in Kenya, advocated for the rights of the world’s 20 million waste pickers to be recognized by countries. He specifically called for justice, access to healthcare, fair wages, and improved working conditions to be addressed in the treaty.
Tearfund’s analysis is based on statistics from a database of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and is published in Global Policies Outlook.