Dakar: Today, Greenpeace Africa
activists staged a protest at the beach of Ouakam and outside King Fahd Palace Hotel, during the official opening of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in Senegal to tell Africa’s environment ministers to keep plastic pollution out of Africa. The activists held a banner bearing the words ‘global plastic treaty now’ demanding that Africa’s leadership support a legally binding instrument to end the plastic pollution crisis.
The resumed 18th session of the AMCEN is taking place in Dakar, Senegal from 12 to 16 September 2022 under the theme: “Securing people’s well-being and ensuring environmental sustainability in Africa. AMCEN is expected to craft an African position on an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution including in the marine environment – as adopted by the UNEA 5.2 resolution (https://bit.ly/3Sbwlm5) in March 2022.
“As Africa’s environment ministers meet in Senegal this week, we hope to see them adopt a progressive and ambitious plan to free our communities of plastic pollution. Our continent has an opportunity to present a united front towards a legally binding global plastic treaty and close the doors of Africa to those seeking to dump their plastic waste on Africa’s soil,” said Greenpeace Africa’s Oceans & Plastic Campaigner, Awa Traoré.
Plastic pollution remains a global crisis, Africa however has the added burden of plastic waste dumping. Countries in the Global North are scrambling to find nations in Africa to ship their plastic waste as evidenced in the recent past when the American Chemistry Council was lobbying to undermine Kenya’s anti-plastic laws (https://nyti.ms/3Bh0bP3) to dump plastic and use Kenya as a gateway to flood Africa with plastic waste.
The proponents of single-use plastics are pushing for more plastic production and exportation into Africa. This could undermine progress made by countries to ban single-use plastic products and combat pollution. Africa’s leadership has the power to enable the change needed to address these challenges and bring to an end this illegal and neocolonialist way of dealing with waste once and for all.
“We hope that our ministers will use this opportunity to strengthen cooperation among governments across Africa and together forge a strong support for the global plastic treaty to finally turn off the plastic tap for the sake of our communities, our climate and our continent,” added Traoré.
As a product of fossil fuels and toxic additives, plastic production – and its incineration releases harmful toxins into the environment which contribute to rising temperatures globally. Unless the majority of single-use plastics are phased out, fossil fuel production will continue thus exacerbating the negative impacts of the climate crisis. A legally binding treaty must address the entire life-cycle of plastics from production through use and to disposal.