The East Africa Regional workshop on Single Use Plastics (SUP) convened environmental experts, legislators, and representatives from the private and civil society sectors in Nairobi, Kenya, to deliberate on the impact of SUPs on the environment and discuss current legislation in the region.
The workshop held on 11th – 12th April 2023 at ALN House, addressed the following areas to educate and inspire further action: the impact of SUP on the environment; insights into substitute materials which can replace SUPs in some functions; the state of single use plastics trade in Africa; the state of SUP legislation in East Africa Community and the enforcement of existing laws and importance of harmonisation. Three case studies from the region were also presented based on Rwanda’s journey towards phasing out single use plastics as well as citizen approaches to tackling plastic pollution.
During the workshop, the legislators in attendance pledged action across the East African Community region, at national and regional level (through the East African Legislative Assembly) to combat the negative impact of single-use plastics on the environment. The workshop concluded that the unregulated use of single-use plastics has severe consequences, including environmental pollution, health risks, and economic losses.
Harmonised regional legislation was identified as a crucial step towards addressing the issue, as it ensures consistent enforcement across borders, facilitates a circular economy, and enhances the voices of African countries in the ongoing negotiations towards a globally binding instrument against plastic pollution under discussion at the UN. The workshop emphasised the importance of collaboration among stakeholders and the need for capacity building to enhance awareness and understanding of plastic pollution issues and their social consequences.
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