Plastic credit poised to intensify waste management and recycling in Africa

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By Checky Abuje

As the world converges on the headquarters of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) in Nairobi, Kenya, to deliberate on plastic pollution, particularly in developing countries where solid waste management infrastructure remains a Challenge, under the auspices of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3), plastic credit initiatives have emerged as a temporary measure to eliminate plastic waste from the environment.

The Deekali project initiated in 2021 by Africa Carbon and Commodities (ACC) as part of the VERRA program to reduce plastic waste in West Africa is an initiative established in Senegal which is driving the plastic credit agenda in Africa as a first African project.

Africa Carbon and Commodities Managing Director Nicole Dewing told Africa Science News that the adoption of plastic credit measures is among the viable temporary ways to ensure the collection and recycling of plastic waste from the environment. “This is a ten-year project at the end of which the government of Senegal will take over,” stressed Nicole.

She explained that plastic credits are purchased by companies that want to offset the plastic impact they generate from plastic waste escaping into the environment, noting that the credits will allow the private sector to validate and finance plastic collection and recycling activities in Africa where credit income will increase and improve the collection and recycling of plastic waste.

“I call on other African countries to imitate Senegal by advancing plastic credit initiatives in order to contribute to the development of permanent instruments to combat plastic production and pollution, as envisaged in the United Nations charter on plastic pollution.

Nicole, however, demystified the discourse around plastic credit, saying it is misleading and misunderstood, adding that part of the population of players in the waste management and recycling sector do not understand the whole concept of plastic credit , one of the narratives being that the credit initiative will give multinationals corporate leeway to mass produce plastics.

Speaking at the side event at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee 3 in Nairobi, Kenya,

Nicole exclusively told Africa Science News that her initiative has the capacity, experience and know-how to generate plastic credits for collection and recycling operations in Africa. The plastic credit is a tradable certificate which represents a tonne of plastic waste recycled or collected from the environment.

According to Nicole, poverty, low adoption of technology and innovation in third world countries, illiteracy and strict VERRA standards are some of the bottlenecks in the quest for plastic credit in Africa from West.

His vision, however, is to expand the orchestra to other West African countries such as Guinea, Burkina Faso and even Ethiopia in East Africa.

Sir Mamadou is director of the Africa Carbon and Commodities entity in Senegal and confirms that plastic credit will help Africa realize the dream of a circular economy for the benefit of communities and called for an immediate end to the importation of plastics on the African continent.

Mamadou challenged African governments to adopt the right decisions on waste management policies and regulations and commended Rwanda for its bold steps in the right direction.

He called on multinationals to take full responsibility for End Producer Responsibility (EPR) as a mitigation measure against the flooding of the environment with plastic, while at the same time calling on African governments to put in place an infrastructure to govern circular economy approaches to waste management.

joabuje@gmail.com

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