News

Dr Tony Ribbink and Norwegian Ambassador HE Trine Skymoen stand beneath a Norway South Africa signDr 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 year with a view to rolling out long-term initiatives continent-wide from 2019.

Plastic pollution in the seas is the problem on everyone’s minds at the moment, with widespread coverage of the crisis in the world’s oceans. Recognising that urgent action needs to be taken, Norway has partnered with the African Marine Waste Network to solve the challenges facing communities in and around Africa.

The collaboration between the Scandinavian nation and the Network was announced at Nelson Mandela University on April 24th, with representatives from local and international governments, the United Nations Environment Programme, academia, industry, businesses and civil society in attendance.

The Network, which is implemented by the Kenton-based Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), was launched in 2016 to address the issue of marine waste at a pan-African level, and aims to facilitate collaboration between people and organisations across borders.

As explained in addresses by Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa HE Trine Skymoen and Director of the Network Dr Tony Ribbink, the partnership with Norway will see the Network undertaking a feasibility study in the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay area over the next six months.

During this period, ideas will be tested and proof of concept developed, with a view to scale up and roll out long-term initiatives from 2019 to stem the flow of marine debris from Africa and its island states into the oceans.

“Only by sharing experiences and knowledge will we be able to find sustainable solutions to global challenges,” said Ambassador Skymoen. “Dr Ribbink and his team are leading the way to saving the oceans. Norway is proud to be a sponsor of SST and a partner to the African Marine Waste Network. We sincerely hope others too will support their activities.”

Ambassador Skymoen emphasised that the oceans hold great promise for humankind, and that it is time for action to ensure blue growth for a green future. 

Partnership goals

The feasibility study will involve cutting-edge research to generate much-needed data on the amount of waste in catchments, rivers and estuaries in the Nelson Mandela Bay area, deploying drones and other innovative technology to achieve this.

The Network’s researchers will also seek to measure the impact of clean-ups and the success of waste management strategies, explore methods for monitoring microplastic accumulation in marine life, and evaluate techniques to determine the amount of lost and abandoned fishing gear off the coasts – a major setback to sustainability initiatives.

The work does not stop there; the Network will also be testing new models of economic enterprises that could incentivise waste reduction and provide financial benefit to local communities. Engaging with entrepreneurs, innovators and existing businesses will be an integral element in efforts going forward.

Other key parts of the project include building capacity and boosting education and skills transfer through the creation of an education resource book and coordination of an African Waste Academy. This is to be initiated in Nelson Mandela Bay and then rolled out to the rest of Africa through webinars and training courses in different countries.

As part of the focus on education and empowerment, the Network announced the launch of a dedicated youth network that will see young environmental ambassadors engaging with their peers to help create a cleaner future.

International cooperation to solve the plastic pandemic

Plastic pollution has been shown to have a detrimental impact on human and environmental health, as well as on economic development and the livelihood of millions of people around the world. Once it enters the oceans, it can wash up anywhere in the world – even on the shores of countries thousands of kilometres away, making it a truly international issue.

Norway is committed to international ocean cooperation and is active in global, regional and bilateral forums concerned with international ocean governance and management. 

In February, the country committed to being a platform partner to the UN Global Compact in the quest for creating an Action Platform for Sustainable Ocean Business, which will be officially launched on World Oceans Day on June 8th.

Furthermore, the Norwegian Prime Minister has recently taken the initiative to form an international High-Level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. The Panel will highlight the relationship between clean and healthy oceans, sustainable use of ocean resources and economic growth and development. Policy choices needed to ensure a sustainable ocean economy will be an important part of the work.

All eyes on Africa

While marine pollution is a global issue, Africa is increasingly under the spotlight as it is predicted to become the most-littered continent by 2050, due to a doubling of plastic waste output, taking the place of Asia. If action is not taken, that same year could see the amount of plastic in the oceans outweighing the number of fish.

Current waste management procedures see almost 80 percent of waste from municipal areas flowing into the oceans via rivers and estuaries, highlighting the need for broad, lasting stop-at-source solutions.

Call to action

The African Marine Waste Network concluded the event by issuing a call for everyone to team up with them for a mega cleanup on September 15th, the International Coastal Cleanup Day driven by the international Ocean Conservancy movement.

To be held across Nelson Mandela Bay, at beaches and everywhere in between, the event is a collective effort to stop plastic waste getting into the sea. The clean-up will coincide with the Let’s Do It! World endeavour to mobilise millions of people worldwide to clean up the environment on the same day.

A separate, but related, project to that run with Norway, the cleanup is one of the Network’s major events scheduled for 2018. 

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

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

PETCO Communications Hub rising to meet the challe…

Published: 06-02-2018

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 t... 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 info@africanwastenetwork.org.za 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