Only four per cent of the total waste generated and dumped into Africa is recycled. This practice, according to an environmental expert, denies the continent’s economies a growth opportunity through use of recycled waste.
African environment ministers attending the seventh special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment at the United Nations Environment Programme headquarters, Nairobi, heard that Africa does not have requisite capacity to reuse a huge percentage of dumped materials.
UN Environment Africa Office regional sub-programme coordinator for chemicals waste and air quality Abdouraman Bary, said presence of huge discarded excesses ought to offer an opportunity to African governments to grow their economies .
Instead of continuing with open burning of waste that causes air pollution which impacts on human health, Bary opined that measures need to be fast-tracked to develop a secondary resource economy through increased reuse, recycling and recovery of waste.
Big manufacturers and industries, he said, do not re-use the dumped waste despite having the capacity to recycle, leaving the reprocessing work to informal actors.
“Only the informal sector reprocess rejected waste. Viable resources are being lost to the economy through dumping of waste polymer, fiber, metals and nutrients,” said Bary.
Bary commended the informal sector for integrating the waste by producing other products, hence creating employment opportunities. – KNA