Africa is the second most polluted continent. Costs of marine waste to Africa are estimated in the millions of dollars every year. The exact amount of waste entering the sea from the African continent remains unknown, but it’s clear the rapid development of Africa has seen waste accumulation outpace management capacity. International organisations now fear Africa may soon become as badly polluted as Southeast Asia, the current holder of the worst pollution record on the planet. Waste from Africa enters the sea and becomes part of the global environment. Thus, marine waste problems in Africa are part of the shared global waste problem.
Global marine pollution is a detriment to the world’s economy, human health, wildlife, environment, and perpetuates climate change. Africa needs to play its part in finding solutions to this growing problem.
The African Marine Waste Network is our answer. It focuses on marine pollution mitigation in Africa and is the first of its kind on the continent. It’s an active platform for collaboration and resource- and knowledge-sharing within countries and across borders in Africa.
Our mandate is to serve the coastal and island states of Africa by developing an active consortium of people and organisations working together within countries and across borders to help the people of Africa develop and implement better waste-management strategies.
Our Tools of Change
Our research aims to develop proof of concept, build baselines and provide the information necessary for long-term strategies to be developed. It monitors change on the ground and provides knowledge to decision-makers.
EDUCATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING
Our Education Resource Book is a guide for schools, universities, municipalities, industry, tourism and industry. It fosters environmental ethics and promotes positive behaviour change.
COMMUNICATIONS & NETWORKING
To mobilise resources that will enable stakeholders across the continent to work together to implement best practices in:
tackling issues of poverty, awareness, education and capacity;
reducing accumulation of waste from vessels and other marine-based sources;
reducing all forms of debris and waste on land in order to prevent leakage into marine environments;
cleaning plastic and other waste from African coasts, seas, and estuaries;
using recycling, incentive schemes and other activities to harness the circular economy; and
providing assistance to coastal municipalities and where applicable their harbours where waste management is a growing problem.
To this end, we have created a strategy plan for tackling Africa’s marine waste issues. Strategy documents on marine debris exist for different regions of the world, and others, like the Honolulu Strategy, have a world-wide perspective. However, no existing strategies adequately deal with the issues and circumstances of Africa. This is an informative guide to best practice, leaving implementation options open to the reader.