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First waste management outlook for Africa – publication launched in Pretoria

Publication Date: 
Friday, June 8, 2018

Recycling only 4% of the waste it generates, Africa has become a dumping ground for waste, particularly hazardous waste, often from developed countries. A far cry from the African Union’s vision that “African cities will be recycling at least 50% of the waste they generate by 2023”.

This and other findings are outlined in the report released by the United Nations Environment and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on 5 June 2018, World Environment Day, at the Sustainability Week in Pretoria.

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David Mandaha

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dmandaha@csir.co.za

Recycling only 4% of the waste it generates, Africa has become a dumping ground for waste, particularly hazardous waste, often from developed countries. A far cry from the African Union’s vision that “African cities will be recycling at least 50% of the waste they generate by 2023”.

This and other findings are outlined in the report released by the United Nations Environment and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on 5 June 2018, World Environment Day, at the Sustainability Week in Pretoria.

The consolidated waste management outlook publication is the result of contributions by experts and researchers from across the African continent, and provides an analysis of the state of waste management in Africa, its impact on the continent and proposed solutions for improved waste management in the region.

The regional outlook is the latest in a series of waste management outlooks, which began with the Global Waste Management Outlook in 2015, published by the United Nations (UN) Environment, through its International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in partnership with the International Solid Waste Association. 

The IETC of the UN Environment is partnering with regional experts to address region-specific waste management outlooks that provide policy recommendations and solutions based on current practices in developing and developed countries.

Prof Linda Godfrey, Principal Scientist at the CSIR was the coordinating lead author of the publication. Prof Godfrey highlighted the need for Africa to start addressing current poor waste management saying that “it was having a negative impact on the economy, society and environment”.

“There is an urgent need for African countries to address the current waste management challenges and to prepare themselves for the expected growth in waste generation in the coming century. This will require social and technological innovation, and investment in services and infrastructure in the waste and secondary resources sector never before seen in Africa, “she says.

Head of UN Environment Programme, Cecilia Njenga said the uncontrolled dumping of waste is one of the major challenges facing Africa. “This is a momentous time for Africa,” she said, “The Report sets a vision for Africa and we hope that this document will inform and inspire decision makers around the continent to preserve the environment”.

The Africa Waste Management Outlook will be available as a free download on the websites of UN Environment and the CSIR https://www.csir.co.za/documents/africa-wmo-reportpdf. The outlooks of other regions are also available on the UN Environment website: http://web.unep.org/ietc/what-we-do/waste-management-outlooks

ENDS

ABOUT US

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, commonly known as the CSIR, is a world-class African research and development organisation established through an Act of Parliament in 1945. The CSIR undertakes directed, multidisciplinary research and technological innovation that contributes to the improved quality of life of South Africans.