Launched at the recent Sustainability Week in Pretoria, the United Nations Environment and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have released a report outlining the state of waste management in Africa.
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”.
Analysis of the state of waste management
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 United Nations Environment, through its International Environmental Technology Centre in partnership with the International Solid Waste Association.
The IETC of 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.
Negative impact of poor waste management
Professor Linda Godfrey, principal scientist at the CSIR was the coordinating lead author of the publication. Professor 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 (UNEP) 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”.Download the Africa Waste Management Outlook report