More than 50 African environment ministers have gathered in Senegal over issues concerning plastic pollution and the burning of waste which releases methane and other harmful gases into the environment.
The conference took place in the wake of major flooding and drought throughout the continent, which have aggravated food insecurity, damaged vital infrastructure, and cost fragile economies billions of dollars.
Deputy Regional Director of the United Nations Environment Program’s Africa, Richard Munang who disclosed this said, “If this issue is not addressed, it will not only end up creating inconvenience in the cities, but at the same time, the open burning is causing outdoor pollution. And so, converting that waste into opportunities like recycling plastic waste into plastic tiles, where young people can learn skills, will create jobs.
“About 600,000 million Africans die from air pollution-related illnesses each year.”
Also, the ministers will discuss the development of an international agreement on plastic pollution – a major issue in African countries where waste management systems and anti-littering education are often lacking.
Griffins Ochieng, the Executive Director of the Center for Environmental Justice and Development added, “We have to ensure that Africa calls out the major causes: the producers who cause the problem of plastic to take action in curbing plastic production, removing harmful substances in the production and looking at the redesign of the product.”
John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate, John Kerry is expected to attend the conference Wednesday and Thursday to discuss methane emissions, climate adaptation, and waste management.
The conference will continue through Friday.