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Greenpeace Africa asks continent’s leaders to push for strong global treaties on plastics and oceans

African leaders told to push for laws to tackle the escalating plastic pollution crisis and overfishing in Africa’s waters. PHOTO/FILE


As African heads of states and governments gather at the 37th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 17-18, environmentalists have called for a unified commitment and greater leadership in tackling the escalating plastic pollution crisis and overfishing in Africa’s waters.

Dr. Oulie Keita, Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa, emphasized the critical need for robust, ambitious global plastics and high seas treaties.

“We are at a pivotal moment where our actions can shape the future of our continent. African governments must mobilise and unite in supporting a strong Global Plastics Treaty and High Seas Treaty that prioritise reducing plastic production, keeping the oil and gas used in its production in the ground and protecting our oceans,” Dr. Keita said.

He added that the escalating problems of plastics and over-fishing were not just environmental issues; but was also a justice issue, a health, livelihood and rights of our people issue.

Plastics are the fastest growing source of industrial greenhouse gases. Greenpeace Africa applauds the progress made by the High Ambition Coalition (HAC) and urges more African countries to join the Coalition in strengthening their positions on the plastics treaty.

The move would significantly bolster the efforts of existing coalition members, including Rwanda, Senegal, Ghana, and Nigeria, in advocating for a treaty that addresses the entire lifecycle of plastics, from production to disposal.

“Our demand is clear: a treaty that reduces structural inequalities, protects human health, the environment, and ensures a just transition to a low-carbon development pathway. It must be centered on justice for frontline communities most affected by plastic pollution and overfishing,” Dr. Keita added.

Greenpeace Africa urges African leaders at the AU Summit to demonstrate true leadership by adopting a progressive plan that tackles the full lifecycle of plastic and invests in sustainable solutions like reuse and refill systems.

This is a critical opportunity for African nations to lead the way in creating a plastic-free future with protected oceans, showing the world that they stand firmly on the side of their people.

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