The African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) has called for urgent action to tackle Africa’s mounting plastic crisis.
The conference held in Addis Ababa this week centered around the theme “Seizing opportunities and enhancing collaboration to address environmental challenges in Africa.”
During the 19th session of AMCEN, Greenpeace pressed the 54 member states to stand firm in their negotiations for a ground-breaking treaty that would effectively cap plastic production at its source and prevent the extraction of oil and gas used in plastic manufacturing.
Nairametrics, a leading financial information and content creation company based in Nigeria, noted that amid intensifying concerns regarding the environmental ramifications of plastics production and disposal methods, Greenpeace Africa has issued a call to action urging the environment ministers from all the African nations to endorse a treaty aimed at reforming the plastics value chain.
The organization pointed out that the gathering served as a platform for enhancing Africa’s collective involvement in the global environmental agenda, including the International Negotiating Committee’s (INC) efforts, to forge a legally binding global plastics treaty.
Greenpeace Africa Communication and Story Manager, Hellen Kahaso Dena, urged AMCEN to lead African member states toward a treaty grounded in human rights and equity, one that can combat plastic pollution, which gravely affects communities across the continent.
Dena highlighted that plastic pollution not only disrupts ecosystems crucial for African livelihoods but also exacerbates social inequalities, echoing the harm caused by the climate crisis.
The African Group of Negotiators was urged to advocate for a robust treaty that fosters a just transition toward sustainable livelihoods for those affected along the plastics value chain, including workers and communities.
Given that more than 99% of plastics are derived from fossil fuels, plastic manufacturing significantly contributes to the climate crisis, accounting for roughly 3.4% of global greenhouse gas emissions, it was pointed out.
Curtailing plastic production and discontinuing single-use plastics aligns with the overarching aim of restraining global warming within the 1.5-degree limit.
Advocates of single-use plastics are advocating for increased plastic production and export to Africa, potentially undermining the strides African nations have made in tackling plastic pollution.
A collaborative approach among African member states is essential to address these challenges and to counteract the unlawful and neo-colonialist approach adopted by the Global North in handling plastic waste.
With 34 governments having already enacted bans on single-use plastics or passed laws aimed at such a ban, Africa is demonstrating significant leadership in the fight against plastic pollution.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency