Communication is the key to solving the issue of plastic waste; it raises awareness, promotes interest, shares knowledge and educates. This is why Dr. Tony Ribbink, Director of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN), is thrilled that PETCO (the PET Plastic Recycling Company) is extending and growing its support of the PETCO Communications Hub of the Network for a further year.

The partnership with PETCO enables us to better serve the people in the 38 coastal and island states of Africa for which the Network has a responsibility. This coming year is likely to be particularly active as suddenly the world is awakening to the urgency and need to focus on waste in Africa. International developments and pledges will provide us with much of value to communicate,” says Dr. Ribbink.

Dr. Ribbink further indicated that it is a pleasure to work with PETCO, an action orientated company and a leader in sustainable thinking. PETCO plays a significant, hands-on, role in education, capacity development and molding sensible strategies.

Cheri Scholtz, PETCO CEO, commented, “We view the Network – the first of its kind to focus on the prevention and mitigation of marine pollution in Africa – as a game-changer. Plastic and other pollution is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the planet. The accumulation of plastic waste and other debris on land and its leakage into the sea is a growing, costly problem. We can and must work together to solve this crisis.”

In 2017, it was estimated that 350kg of plastic waste poured into the oceans every second. This plastic persists as the rate of decomposition can last for centuries. This means that every year, millions of tonnes of plastic waste are accumulating in the oceans, where it spoils the environment, threatens many of the sea creatures, and pose significant risks to humans. These factors have strongly focused global attention on the issue of plastic waste in the last two years.

It is estimated that about 80% of the plastic waste entering the oceans come from land-based sources, travelling via rivers, wetlands and estuaries. The main focus of the AMWN in the coming year will geared towards projects and awareness campaigns stopping plastic waste from entering the rivers. In Africa, most municipalities are centered within river catchments that have a prominent river running though towns and cities collecting plastic waste which eventually ends up in the ocean. The need to involve municipalities with environmental projects and awareness campaigns is considerable.

As the world population grows from seven to nine billion people, so too will the amounts of plastic waste. Clearly there is a need to dramatically improve waste management and promote ways to reduce, reuse and recycle plastic; starting by recognizing that plastic is a valuable resource that should not be discarded. This is particularly important in Africa, as predictions are showing that 1.3 billion of the 2 billion additional people on the planet by 2050 will be in Africa. Clearly, a task of the PETCO Communications Hub together with the AMWN will be to promote strategies that are geared to the much higher population densities especially along the coasts.

PECTO have already initiated several partnerships with local communities in an effort to promote skills development and encourage people to make a living from recyclables. The Thinana Recycling and Waste Management Primary Co-operative, in the village of Senwabarwana (Limpopo), is an example of such a partnership with PETCO. In this Co-operative, five women collect recyclable waste (such as PET plastic bottles, cans, and glass) using donkey carts and trolleys. PETCO has supported this Co-operative through training and by supplying collection trolleys as well as a manual baling machine.

Cheri Scholtz concluded by saying, “Creating a sustainable future requires fundamental changes in attitudes and behavior, with each stakeholder group – from government and industry, to society as a whole – taking responsibility for their specific role in transitioning to a circular economy. This is the future PETCO is working to create.”


Youth, you can beat plastic pollution!

Published: 07-11-2018

‘Young people have an incredibly important role [when it comes to plastic pollution], but you must get on top of it!’ This good-natured order came from Derek Hanekom, Acting Mini... Read more

The problem of plastic pollution is systemic

Published: 15-10-2018

Plastic is everywhere, in what we wear, covering the things and food we buy, in the tyres on which we drive, it’s even in the teabags we steep in water. We use it all the time in w... Read more

Meet the Map Makers: Rick Bonnier

Published: 27-09-2018

Rick-Ernest Bonnier of Clean Ocean, member of the African Marine Waste Network Rick-Ernest Bonnier, 27, wants to change the world. In particular, he wants to rid it of the scourge... Read more

Recycled-plastic desks support local learning and …

Published: 23-04-2018

Two of South Africa’s leading plastic recycling names teamed up with the African Marine Waste Network to furnish a disabled care facility with eco-conscious desks and chairs. Thin... Read more

Norway and African Marine Waste Network team up to…

Published: 23-04-2018

Dr Tony Ribbink and Norwegian Ambassador HE Trine Skymoen made the big announcement on April 24th. The partnership will see a feasibility study conducted in Nelson Mandela Bay this... Read more

Dealing with Marine Waste - South Africa-Norway Sc…

Published: 08-02-2018

Last year, Dr. Tony Ribbink represented the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) at the South Africa-Norway Science Week of 2017 (SW2017) during the Green Maritime Seminar. A plen... Read more

Where does my Recycling Go? Part 2: Converters

Published: 24-10-2017

Last week we looked at Material Recovery Facilities, the first stop for your recycling. This week we continue the story and show you how recovered plastics are recycled and turned ... Read more

Where does my Recycling Go? Part1: Material Recove…

Published: 17-10-2017

  This is the third installment of the AMWN Showcase. Read the first and second installments. Few of us consider the fate of the waste we produce once it passes ou... Read more

Microplastics on the Menu

Published: 11-10-2017

Image source: iStock This article is the second instalment of the AMWN’s On the ground Showcase series. Read the first instalment here. There’s no denying that plastic is ... Read more

PACKA-CHING set to pack a punch in the world of in…

Published: 04-10-2017

  This article is the first installment of the AMWN’s On the ground Showcase series. Want your initiative showcased? Email Read more about ... Read more

AMWN on Wits Science Inside Radio Show

Published: 13-09-2017

Dr Holly Nel and Tatjana Baleta of the African Marine Waste Network were interviewed by Wits “Science Inside” radio show in light of the recent plastic bag ban in Kenya. The show ... Read more

Sylvia Earle, SST patron, features on cover of TIM…

Published: 29-08-2017

Dr Sylvia Earle is name that for many needs no contextualising. An oceanographer, explorer, author and conservationist, she is known the world over as an icon of the ocean and am... Read more

Mobile Apps and Marine Debris

Published: 29-08-2017

 Mobile Apps for combating Marine Debris Mobile applications have the power to turn your phone into a handy pocket-sized tool for fighting marine debris. Data on types and ... Read more

News from the AMW Conference

Published: 14-07-2017

“Waste is a human problem. There is no waste in nature.” With these words Dr Sylvia Earle gave the keynote address at the inaugural African Marine Waste Conference last week in P... Read more

Boaz sets sail for Port Elizabeth

Published: 26-06-2017

And they’re off! The yacht Boaz set sail from Gordon’s Bay, Cape Town this Monday morning at 5:30am on high tide in good conditions. The yacht is due to arrive in P.E. on the 8th... Read more

Gabon announces creation of largest marine reserve…

Published: 15-06-2017

An eel slithers through coral patches off an oil platform in Gabon. Photograph by Enric Sala, National Geographic Creative   Last Monday Gabon lead the way for Africa and... Read more

Cellphone apps and GIS: A response to data deficie…

Published: 15-06-2017

Plastic is a revolutionary material. Nowadays it’s found nearly everywhere; from the containers keeping our food fresh, to the clothes we wear, to everyday home and office suppli... Read more

PETCO launches the Communications Hub for AMWN

Published: 07-06-2017

  SST is proud to announce that PETCO is generously sponsoring the PETCO Communications Hub of the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN), which has just been  launched.&... Read more

New Partnership with DPaPP

Published: 23-05-2017

 SST and the AMWN are excited to announce a new partnership with DPPAP. Establishing the Network means starting right here on our very own coastline: East to West and beyon... Read more

Do One Thing (DOT) Challenge

Published: 15-02-2017

Braam Malherbe together with rowing partner Wayne Robertson, set off on their epic 6700km unassisted rowing expedition to Rio de Janeiro, launching the DOT (Do One Thing) Challen... Read more

Buli G Ngomane

Published: 31-01-2017

TV Presenter on SABC 3's "The Power Within", Buli G has a prime-time radio presenting career in the Eastern Cape and Gauteng under her belt and is currently the Communications Exec... Read more

My Waste

Published: 13-01-2017

So you've decided to "go green." You've replaced your regular light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and purchased recycling bins. You've even organised ... Read more

2017 Conference - New Speakers Announced!

Published: 08-12-2016

Sustainable Seas Trust and the African Marine Waste Network are excited to announce that Sylvia Earle, Jenna Jambeck, Kristian Teleki, Nancy Wallace, Hayley McLellan, Willemijn P... Read more

Unseen Danger: The Truth About Microplastics

Published: 25-11-2016

Images of plastic debris choking estuarine systems or spreading insidiously across the surface of the sea are commonly used to represent the issue of marine pollution - and for goo... Read more

Silence of the Sharks

Published: 08-06-2016

Concerned ocean users voice their support for the Silence of the Sharks underwater protest Read more

Concerned ocean

Published: 08-06-2016

Concerned ocean users voice their support for the Silence of the Sharks underwater protest Endorsed by UGU South Coast Tourism, the biggest underwater protest ever held in South A... Read more