NAIROBI — The UN Environment Program (UNEP) on Tuesday called for regional transboundary collaboration in Africa in the fight against plastic waste.
Juliette Biao Koudenoukpo, director and Africa regional representative at UNEP said that the joint approach is capable of reducing the ever-increasing plastic pollution in the continent.
“There is a need for action plans that engage the private sector, consumers, industry and governments in the fight against plastic pollution,” Koudenoukpo said in Nairobi during the launch of Flipflopi, a boat made entirely from plastic waste, for its expedition to Lake Victoria.
She said that plastic waste is a transboundary concern requiring collaborative actions and not simply from governments but from industry and consumers.
“Regional cooperation and action plans are recommended to prevent further pollution at all levels,” said Koudenoukpo.
The official noted that it is unfortunate that only nine percent of the nine billion tons of plastics globally has been recycled. She urged the private sector in Africa to use plastic wastes in developing alternative items for sale to boost the countries’ economies.
“The ban on single-use plastics and non-essential plastics has created a thriving alternative business where discarded items are recycled in making handicrafts and other items for sale,” Koudenoukpo said.
The official noted that out of the 54 African countries, 20 are in different stages of banning single-use plastic from use in their countries.
Koudenoukpo commended African countries including Kenya and Rwanda for leading in banning the usage of single-use plastics.
“UNEP is fully committed to supporting the government and the people of Kenya, as well as neighboring countries in the fight against marine plastic pollution,” she said.
The official reiterated that UNEP is supporting the Flipflopi expedition to galvanize change among governments, the public, the private sector and civil society to beat plastic pollution.
“The recycled boat (Flipflopi), aims to raise awareness, inspire and engage, local and regional and global communities in the fight against marine plastic pollution,” she added.