New circular solutions to plastic pollution are emerging
Author: Kigali, Rwanda
Experts agree that Africa’s economies need to develop innovative approaches to deal with plastic production, which will double in 20 years and negatively affect the continent’s rural communities. The experts met in the Rwandan capital Kigali on the sidelines of the World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF), which ran from 6-8 December. As a result of ongoing global efforts to drive Africa’s transition to a circular economy at national, regional and continental levels, official estimates show that the transition to a fully circular economy could generate $4.5 trillion in global economic benefits by 2030. During the Global Forum, government representatives, researchers, civil society activists and strategic partners launched an initiative: the Big Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution, with the goal of achieving this by 2040. Plastic leakage into the environment is expected to double to 44 million tonnes per year, while the accumulation of plastics in aquatic environments will more than triple, with the greatest costs expected in sub-Saharan Africa, whose gross domestic product (GDP) would fall 2.8% below the baseline level. Kristin Hughes, director of the Resource Circularity Pillar and a member of the World Economic Forum’s executive committee, told delegates that if current trends continue, by 2050 there will be one billion metric tons of plastic waste in landfills or in the natural environment.