2035 the target date to rid Africa of plastic waste filling the oceans!

DSC_4245.JPGPort Elizabeth: 01 November 2018

Seventeen years from now, Africa must be rid of the menace of plastic waste infesting particularly the oceans surrounding it, that is the ambitious target the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) is setting itself in the global war against plastic waste.

That is according to its lead member, the Port Elizabeth based non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust, which this week launched an initiative called the Africa Youth Waste Network to rope in the continent’s youth in the battle against mounting plastic pollution all across Africa.

DSC_8067.JPGThe youth initiative is part of a broader campaign by the SST and AYWN that is financially backed by the Norwegian government and which has already seen the establishment of an African Marine Waste Academy in Nelson Mandela Bay earlier this year.

Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education, Ms Isebin Nybo together with South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Derek Hanekom were among high profile guests in Nelson Mandela Bay on Monday for the launch of the youth initiative.

Other guests included local government officials as well as academics from both the Nelson Mandela University as well as Norway’s University of Bergen.

Some scholarly ongoing research findings shared at the event depicted a dire picture of the highly negative impacts of plastic waste, particularly that which enters the African continent’s oceans.

Among the findings was that not only was plastic waste reaching the oceans now at unsustainable levels, but also that certain fish species were already feeding on it and in the process, posing a real and immediate high risk to both human and other creatures lives that feed on fish.

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Dr Anthony Ribbink. CEO: Sustainable Seas Trust

According to (SST) CEO, Dr Anthony Ribbink, time for talking about the pending disaster was over and target dates had to be set for defined action to show results, hence the group has set 2035 as the year on which Africa will be rid of plastic waste and resultant pollution.

Central to the strategy for cleaning up and eventually eliminating plastic waste will be the engagement of particularly youth across the continent through the newly set up network, combining it with ongoing academic research, but also a development of economic opportunities to both manage and get rid of plastic waste.

Key role players will include municipalities across towns and cities of the continent.

According to Dr Ribbink, the first target African city for the major clean up campaign will be Nelson Mandela Bay whose deadline for reaching a zero plastic waste status has been set even more tighter, as 2021.

“We want to make sure that Nelson Mandela Bay becomes the first city in Africa to reach zero plastic waste by 2021 and the local municipal government has committed to the target.”

He also announced that the African Marine Waste Network with 42 members countries across the continent will hold its second conference in April 2020 and during which concrete plans for the rest of the continent will be shared.

In the video below, Dr Ribbink explains the thinking.

Meanwhile,  Ms Alexie Kalenga, coordinator of the AYWN explained the rationale behind the active engagement of especially young people in the Africa war against plastic waste.

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Ms Alexie Kalenga. African Youth Waste Network

She said recent population statistics indicated two critical aspects about Africa’s population: that young people aged between 16 and 25 years hold (225-million as at 2015) constituted about 60% of the continent’s population and about 19% of the world’s population and were therefore the largest majority by far.

But crucially, this figure was projected to almost double to 456-million by 2055, thereby reflecting a rapidly growing population, with huge implications for waste generation and management as, she said, waste accumulation had been proved to be a function of population size.

She said the network was intended to be an active platform for collaboration, resource and knowledge sharing among young people across countries.

“It’s a youth driven initiative that aims at zero pollution and clean seas by 2035.

In the video below, Ms Kalenga shares more detail.

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African youth set for formal direct role in war against marine plastic pollution: African Marine Waste Network

DSC_4166 (2)Pretoria: 27 October 2018

Engaging Africa’s young people as crusaders in the global war against the menace of oceans and inland waterways plastic pollution takes on a whole new stride forward in South Africa with the launch of the continent’s first African Youth Waste Network (AYWN) in Port Elizabeth on Monday

The launch of the initiative at the Nelson Mandela University (NMU) north campus from 9am on Monday is a culmination of a partnership involving local non governmental organization, Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and the Norwegian government, marked earlier in 2018 with the set up in Port Elizabeth of an African Marine Waste Academy.

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IN PARTNERSHIP:  (Left) Dr Anthony Ribbink, Chief Executive Officer of the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST: South Africa)  and  Norwegian Ambassador to South Africa Ms Trine Skymoen exchanging documents and shaking hands on an agreement through which Norway  is funding  a first of its kind initiative to combat marine waste in Africa based in Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape Province.

According to the SST, South Africa’s lead partner of the Africa Marine Waste Network with 42 member countries,  the youth network “will enable the youth of Africa to communicate and inspire one another and engage with young people everywhere as well as influence adults, especially leaders.”

 

Derek Hanekom
Mr Derek Hanekom. Minister of Tourism

As an indication of the high significance of the launch of the AYWN initiative, billed guests include senior South African and Norwegian government officials, among them South Africa’s Minister of Tourism and acting Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Derek Hanekom, his Norwegian counterpart responsible for the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, Ms Iselin Nybø, Royal Norwegian Embassy in South Africa councillor, Dr Karl Klingsheim, academics from the Nelson Mandela University and Norway’s University of Bergen.

Also attending will be Mayor of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality, Mr Mongameli Bobani.

Minister Hanekom is billed to share the South African government’s viewpoint on both the scourge of plastic pollution as well as its endorsement of the engagement of young people in the global initiative, while Minister Nybø will share experiences and best practices in thwarting plastic pollution particularly from the marine environment from Norway’s perspective.

For more information on the SST/AMWN and Norwegian government initiatives in the South Africa based war against particularly marine plastic waste, click on the set of stories below.

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