Reducing impact of plastic waste through education and improved waste management systems
Johannesburg, South Africa, 23rd June 2020 – The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (the Alliance) and conservation non-profit African Parks today announced a collaboration to tackle plastic waste in up to 17 protected areas across the continent. Working with local communities, the collaboration will focus on combating the impacts of plastic waste in areas under management of African Parks, contributing further to global imperatives to boost sustainability and health in crucial ecosystems.
The collaboration will support a number of sustainable solutions such as education and improving waste management systems to reduce plastic leakage, and engagement activities such as beach clean-ups.
Photo credit: African Parks / Scott Ramsay
“Very often the challenge of plastic waste in the environment is portrayed through images of polluted beaches, but it’s also prevalent in natural landscapes across Africa, in some of the most critically important places for biodiversity. The Alliance is committed to leveraging our shared experience to find effective and sustainable solutions for the challenges faced by African Parks. By working together to address plastic waste, we can help to protect some of the world’s most iconic and endangered animals, as well as support the communities who depend on these lands” said Jacob Duer, President and CEO, Alliance to End Plastic Waste.
African Parks is fully responsible for the rehabilitation and management of 17 protected areas in 11 countries, spanning 13.3 million hectares representing nine distinct ecological biomes. Several of the parks under management of African Parks in partnership with Governments have policies to reduce, recycle and where possible eliminate plastic use within them. However, a broader approach supported by the Alliance will help current efforts in protected areas to implement lasting solutions to combat plastic waste.
“Plastic waste is a grave threat to the world’s ecosystems, from terrestrial to freshwater and marine. We’re pleased to be working with the Alliance as we step up our commitment to ensuring that some of Africa’s most important habitats are kept free of plastic waste,” said Peter Fearnhead, African Parks’ CEO. “By collaborating with communities and partners to support positive behaviours and actions we hope to contribute to a more sustainable legacy for the continent”.
“Plastic pollution is one of our most pressing environmental challenges, with millions of tonnes of plastic waste finding its way into the natural environment every year, impacting our ecosystems and animal health and welfare” said John E. Scanlon AO, African Parks’ Special Envoy. He continued, “Much like the illegal wildlife trade, biodiversity loss and climate change, these challenges are interconnected, and need coordinated responses. As we continue to confront a global health crisis, we can clearly see the need for coordinated international responses to global challenges to secure our planet’s health”.