The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has released a 224-page report outlining the state of Africa’s waste management industries. The report, called ‘Africa Waste Management Outlook’, was produced in partnership with the United Nations Environment.
The report reveals that “the urban population of Africa is increasing at a faster rate than any other continent (3.5 percent per annum).” Although Africa produces less waste than the other continents, sub-Saharan Africa is set to become one of the most important regions in the world in terms of waste generation.
This increasing waste generation is being driven by population growth, rapid urbanisation, a growing middle class, changing consumption habits and increased production of goods. The report states that the African Union has called on African cities to commit to recycling 50% of the waste they produce by 2023.
Currently, around four percent of Africa’s waste is completely recycled. However, according to the report, “a number of international, continental and regional policies are in place to address pollution and waste in Africa.”
More about the Africa Waste Management Outlook
The report received input from numerous experts, researchers and authors from all around the continent. It provides a detailed examination of Africa’s waste management industry, its impact on the environment and proposed solutions to take the industry forward.
United Nations Environment worked on this report, which is the latest in their series of consolidated waste management reports – the first being ‘Global Waste Management Outlook’ which was published in 2015.
The UN Environment team partnered with African experts to look at the continent-specific waste management practices, as well as to provide policy recommendations and possible solutions to problems in the industry.
African countries need to increase their waste management capabilities
Principal researcher for integrated waste management at the CSIR, professor Linda Godfrey, was the coordinating lead author of this report. She emphasises the need for African nations to look at their waste management practices and implement changes soon.
“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,” she says.
“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 explains.
Africa will soon become one of the highest waste-producing regions in the world. South Africa has already begun the process of setting legislation to deal with pollution and climate change. Other nations, such as Botswana, have decided to ban plastic bags and increase recycling efforts.
These steps are necessary, as outlined in the report, if Africa is to manage its waste production and disposal efficiently.
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