By Checky Abuje
As the world converges at the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) headquarters in Nairobi Kenya, to deliberate on plastic pollution, in especially the developing countries where solid waste management infrastructure remains a challenge under the auspices of Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC3), plastic credit initiatives emerged as a temporary measure towards eliminating plastic waste from the environment.
The Deekali project initiated in 2021 by Africa Carbon and Commodities (ACC) under the VERRA plastic waste Reduction program in West Africa is one initiative established in Senegal that is driving the Agenda of plastic credit in Africa as the first African project.
The Africa Carbon and Commodities managing Director Nicole Dewing told Africa Science News that adopting plastic credit measures is among the viable temporary ways of ensuring the collection and recycling of plastic wastes from the environment. “This is a ten-year project after which the government of Senagal will take over,” remarked Nicole.
She explained that the plastic credits are bought by companies that want to offset the plastic impact they generate from the plastic wastes leaking into the environment, noting that the credits will allow the private sector to validate and finance plastic collection and recycling activities in Africa where the credit income will upscale and improve plastic waste collection and recycling.
“I call upon other African countries to emulate Senegal in advancing plastic credit initiatives to help come up with permanent instruments to counter plastic production and pollution as envisaged in the United Nation’s charter on plastic pollution framework.
Nicole however demystified the narrative around plastic credit saying it is misleading and misunderstood adding that a section of the population of stakeholders in the waste management and recycling sector do not understand the entire concept of plastic credit, one narrative being that the credit initiative will give multinational companies leeway to mass production of plastics.
Speaking at the side event during the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee 3 in Nairobi Kenya,
Nicole exclusively told Africa Science News that her initiative has the capacity, experience, and know-how to generate plastic credits for collection and recycling operations in Africa. Plastic credit is a tradeable certificate that represents one metric ton of plastic waste that has been recycled or collected from the environment.
According to Nicole, poverty, low technological and innovation uptake in third world countries illiteracy, and VERRA strict standards are some of the bottlenecks in the quest to advance for plastic credit in West Africa.
Her vision however is to expand the orchestra into other West African countries like Guinea, Burkinafaso, and even Ethiopia in Eastern Africa.
Sir Mamadou is the Director of the Africa Carbon and Commodities entity in Senegal and confirms that plastic credit will help Africa realise the dream of a circular economy to the benefit of communities and urged an immediate stop to the importation of plastics into the African continent.
Mamadou challenged African governments to adopt the right decisions of waste management policies and regulations and lauded Rwanda for the bold steps in the right direction.
He called on multinationals to take full responsibility for End Producer Responsibility (EPR)as a mitigative measure against flooding the environment with plastic as he at the same time called on African governments to put in place enabling infrastructure to govern circular economy approaches to waste management.