The uncontrolled dumping of waste is one of the major challenges facing Africa. This is according to the first waste management outlook for Africa launched in Pretoria this week.

The report, which was released by the United Nations Environment and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on World Environment Day, at the Sustainability Week event, is a consolidated waste management outlook publication put together by experts and researchers from across the African continent.

It provides an analysis on the state of waste management in Africa, its impact on the continent and proposed solutions for improved waste management in the region.

Africa must address poor waste management

Professor Linda Godfrey, Principal Scientist at the CSIR and coordinating lead author of the publication highlighted the need for Africa to start addressing current poor waste management noting that it was having a negative impact on the economy, society and environment.

Recycling only 4% of the waste it generates, Africa has become a dumping ground for waste, particularly hazardous waste, often from developed countries.

This is a far cry from the African Union’s vision that “African cities will be recycling at least 50% of the waste they generate by 2023”.

Investment and innovation required

“There is an urgent need for African countries to address the current waste management challenges and to prepare themselves for the expected growth in waste generation in the coming century. This will require social and technological innovation, and investment in services and infrastructure in the waste and secondary resources sector never before seen in Africa, “she explained.

Head of UN Environment Programme, Cecilia Njenga added that the report sets a vision for Africa and they hope that it will inform and inspire decision makers around the continent to preserve the environment.