With the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) being held from February 28 to March 2, environmental advocacy group Greenpeace Africa calls on all UN member States to support a comprehensive draft resolution and to adopt further measures to curb plastic waste pollution.
Greenpeace Africa reports that, for the first time in history, consideration of a global plastics treaty to tackle the plastic crisis is one of the top priorities at the UNEA 5.2 talks being held in Nairobi, Kenya.
UNEA, referred to as the world’s Parliament on the environment, presents an opportunity for world governments to approve the way forward for a legally-binding treaty that includes the full plastics lifecycle, from production to disposal.
As such, African and global governments need to implement national policies that push big brands to phase out single-use plastic and support a global plastics treaty.
Greenpeace Africa plastic project engagement lead Erastus Ooko says multinational corporations and rich countries have done their share to “infest Africa’s ecosystems with unfathomable amounts” of single-use plastic and waste.
“Greenpeace Africa is calling on policy makers, corporations, and African and global governments to endorse a legally binding global treaty to curb plastic pollution; otherwise our children will grow up in a world that is more polluted and toxic than we did,” he says.
The UN, through one of its recent reports, notes that plastic waste is clogging waterways, leading to floods and destruction, as well as having a disproportionate impact on minority groups and marginalised communities and countries.
Ooka adds that African governments must “resist the corporate capture” by plastics proponents and take bold actions towards negotiating for a global plastics treaty that encompasses the full life cycle of plastic products.
“This will be a right step towards curbing the recent surge of illegal dumping of plastic waste in the [southern hemisphere] in what has come to be popularly known as waste colonialism.”
He explains that plastic pollution is a “deadly ticking time bomb” and that a solution that matches the scale of the problem is not only critical but non-negotiable.
“Cooperation across Africa is needed in forging a strong fight for a robust and inclusive global treaty. More than ever before, African governments must stand strong and amplify current efforts towards a plastic-free Africa in a more coordinated and ambitious approach.”
Further, Greenpeace Africa demands African governments and policy makers implement bans on the manufacturing and use of single-use plastic to ensure effective implementation of legislation across the continent and support frontline workers and communities being impacted by plastic pollution at every stage of its lifecycle, ensuring a just transition to a green future for these communities.