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Ending Plastic Pollution in Africa

Addressing the Third Session of the Inter-Governmental Negotiating Committee (INC-3) on Ending Plastic Pollution in Nairobi on 13 November, President Ruto of Kenya emphasized the pivotal role of combating plastic pollution in addressing the broader challenge of climate change. More than 99% of plastic is manufactured from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels and could account for up to 19% of greenhouse gas emissions allowed under agreement to limit global temperatures to 1.5°C by 2040. President Ruto called upon investors, multinational corporations and technology companies to join hands and implement strategies towards reducing their plastic waste.

Kenya banned the use by retail of plastic bags some years ago. More than 2,000 delegates attended the event, including representatives from the oil and gas industry, environmental organisations and civil society groups.

Meanwhile, in West Africa, out of 17 countries, 8 are among the top 20 global countries with the least effective plastic waste management practices – up from 5 in 2015. This has worsened marine pollution and adversely affected activities in the region. Coastal provinces account for about 56% of west Africa’s GDP and 33% of the population lives there. In 2018, west African nations launched the West Africa Coastal Area Management Programme to protect and restore the ecological, social and economic assets of coastal areas. The Programme addresses coastal erosion, flooding and pollution. Last year it received an additional $246m in funding from the World Bank. This has brought the World Bank’s total financing of the project to $492m.

Alastair Tempest

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