African governments advised against prohibiting plastics use

An expert in flexible packaging has cautioned African governments against banning the use of plastics in a bid to deal with its associated problems.

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Packaging & Specialty Plastics
Packaging & Specialty Plastics

Marco Amici, Marketing Manager for Dow Chemical in charge of Packaging & Specialty Plastics for Europe Middle East and Asia (EMEA), gave the warning in an interview with Xinhua in Johannesburg recently.

Packaging & Specialty Plastics
Packaging & Specialty Plastics
He cited Rwanda and Kenya as countries in Africa that had proscribed the use of plastics, while Senegal and others are contemplating banning plastic usage in their countries.

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama last year hinted that Ghana would place a ban on the use of plastics if its usage continued to pose an environmental hazard.

Amici however says wastes generated from plastics have so much value and throwing them into the environment for governments to look for money to manage them was not the way forward.

“We had the same issue about problems posed by plastics usage also in Europe many years ago as people were throwing away plastics anyhow on the environment.
“But it was found out that plastics had a certain value and we don’t throw away no matter what; so if we ban plastics, we as citizens of this world lose a lot of value,” he said.

He said wastes generated from plastics could be turned into energy to help the economies of African countries, and called for collaboration with the private sector.

“We need to explain to people that waste has power and that the plastics you throw away today can be converted into fuel tomorrow.”

The annual cost of solid waste management is projected to rise from the current 205 billion United States dollars (USD) to 375 billion USD, according to a new World Bank report on the state of municipal solid waste around the world.

The report, titled “What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management”, says a sharp rise in the amount of garbage generated will come from urban residents between now and 2025.

It estimates that the amount of municipal solid waste will rise from the current 1.3 billion tonnes per year to 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025, with much of the increase coming in rapidly growing cities in developing countries.

Low income countries, the report observes, are expected to generate 213 million tonnes of solid waste a day with the population rising to 676 million by 2025.

Lower middle income ones are also projected to generate 956 million tonnes of solid waste per day with its population predicted to reach 2.08 billion.

Waste generation will hit 360 million tonnes per day by 2025 in Upper Middle Income countries with expected population of 619 million.

For high income nations, waste generation a day by 2025 will reach 686 million tonnes and population at 912 million.

Poor waste management practices, in particular, widespread dumping of waste in water bodies and uncontrolled dump sites, aggravate the problems of generally low sanitation levels across the African continent.

Source: Francis Tandoh

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