Africa recycles only 4% of its total waste: Report

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New Delhi (NVI): Africa only recycles 4 per cent of its waste. About 90 per cent is disposed of on land, often in uncontrolled dumpsites, while the rest is being unaccounted for, according to the UNEP’s Africa Waste Management Outlook report.

The report urges African countries to find innovative solutions to address its waste management challenges and to prepare for the expected growth in waste generation on the continent, expected to double by 2025.

In order to turn environmental challenges into opportunities based on the understanding of an inclusive green economy, Switch Africa Green Programme has been implemented.

This programme supports seven African countries—Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, South Africa and Uganda—to achieve sustainable development by engaging in transition towards an inclusive green economy based on sustainable consumption and production patterns. 

In a regional forum – Switch Green Africa – State Minister for Environment of Uganda Beatrice Anywar addressed over 300 African entrepreneurs and policymakers in February 2020, in Kampala city in Uganda.

Anywar said, “Echoing the main lesson learned from phase 1 of Switch Africa Green, a project led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and supported by the European Union to assist Africa’s transition into green economy, that the transition to a green economy requires actions and significant technological, behavioural and systemic change at all levels of the society, including citizens, public and the private sector.”

Anywar further added, “It has been established that more radical innovations come from micro, small and medium enterprises. These enterprises play a key role in the transition to green economies and sustainable development in general by greening the existing business models and creating new business models that are not only economically profitable but also create environmental and social inclusiveness.”

Implementation of the Switch Africa Green programme is guided by both global and regional settings and priorities. During the 17th Ministerial session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in Durban, South Africa in 2019, a regional framework on circular economy was proposed, to focus on contextualizing the circular economy to the needs of African countries.

“Circular Economy approach is a part of Africa’s transformative efforts to sustainable development. Switch Africa Green programme already promotes circularity approaches such as the promotion of biogas technology, e-waste management, promoting organic agriculture, green manufacturing and eco-industrial park and standards and labelling in the hotel industry, among others,” said Patrick Mwesigye, UNEP Africa Office Regional Coordinator on Resource Efficiency.