AS plastic wastes pose a threat to marine organisms and ecosystem services, over 100 delegates have met at Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa to develop Africa’s guidebook to address the challenge.
At the Second International Conference of the African Marine Waste Network heralded by the theme: “Towards Zero Plastics to the Seas of Africa,” participants are formulating the dossier which will act as a guide to developing National and Regional Action Plans, with a Decision-Making Framework for management of plastics in Africa.
At the well-attended event which will be concluded on Friday, Dr Tony Ribbink, founding trustee and current Chief Executive Officer for the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST) and director of its African Marine Waste Network programme, said Africa is the second most polluted continent, hence it was important for everyone to come up with solutions to address the challenge.
Speaking on the anticipated guidebook, Dr Ribbionk said the document is expected to spell out “the alternatives and actions that need to be taken at every step of the value chain.”
In fulfilling this, various stakeholders from government, private sectors, NGOs and local community-based organization have made some presentations before breaking into groups to critically examining specific chapters of the draft guidebook, contribute facts, proof and make corrections.
conference delegates will have the opportunity to examine specific chapters of the draft guidebook in detail, and contribute facts and proof-of-concept case studies from their region or country, as well as making corrections; whenever necessary.
According to SST website, costs of marine waste to Africa are estimated in the millions of dollars every year adding: “While the exact amount of waste entering the sea from the African continent remains unknown, it is clear the rapid development of Africa has seen waste accumulation outpace management capacity.”
Dr Judy Mann-Lang, who made a presentation focusing on: “People and Plastic – How an understanding of human behaviour can help us to address the plastic crisis,” suggested at the event that behavior change was an important component toward recycling of plastic wastes.
The scholar said in behavior change theories and models, five aspects which should be considered were altitude, subject norm, perceived behavioral control which will develop intention and then behaviour toward plastic recycling at the households level.
On the other hand, Chris Whyte & Associates CC Managing Director, Chris Whyte suggested that in dealing with the challenge, society should not only ring-fence the concept of ‘recycling’ of plastic wastes with arts and crafts,q instead viewing it as “social upliftment, skills development, infrastructure & housing, food security, climate change mitigation as well as economic development.
In his presentation, Whyte insisted that: “developing a waste economy will allow us to achieve our sustainable development goals.”
The guide to the Development of National and Regional Action Plans is intended for publication by October, this year.