Aimed at developing a pan-African strategy to combat rampant marine pollution off Africa's coast, the inaugural African Marine Waste Conference will take place in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on the south-east tip of the continent from July 9-13, 2017.
Africa is the second-worst polluted continent on the planet and the rate of deterioration is accelerating. The negative impacts on human health, economies, environments, tourism, productivity and prosperity are becoming increasingly prevalent.
The Conference is hosted by the African Marine Waste Network, initiated by the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST).
The Network is the first dedicated approach to address marine waste at a pan-African level.
Sustainable Seas Trust Director Tony Ribbink, said the conference provides the next major step forward. It addresses a continent, connected to a world grappling with sustainable, innovative and effective solutions, he says.
It is anticipated that 600 delegates and visitors, including policy decision-makers, in addition to up to 100 exhibiting organisation from across Africa, and wider, as well as international media, will participate and contribute towards the sought solutions for Africa's waste.
Tapping into the already established African Marine Waste Network, the Conference (including site tours, networking functions, conference and exhibition) aims to develop an effective Marine Waste Strategy for Africa and facilitate a guide to best practice for waste management and harnessing a circular economy approach.
"Through collaboration, African nations can benefit from improved resource efficiency, job creation and economic development while helping safeguard its diverse and rich environment, " Ribbink said,
"As waste knows no boundaries, this conference aims to draw together participants from all African coastal and island states. In addition, the Network wishes to benefit from the insights and findings from other parts of the world, so a truly global attention will focus on finding the best possible practices for Africa."
Participants, as delegates, speakers and exhibitors, would represent not only academia, researchers and policy makers but also industry which will showcase innovative marine waste solutions and products.
"Anyone that operates a business linked to the sea, who is concerned about the sustainability of the marine resource or who is seeking solutions and global best practice, should attend," says Ribbink.
Over the course of the four days, conference delegates will experience unparalleled opportunities for extensive networking, site tours, inspiring keynotes, and a comprehensive exhibition floor filled with new and innovative approaches to plastics, with specific relevance to meeting the challenges of waste in African waters.
"Waste is a transboundary issue that requires collaboration on a regional, national, continental, and even global scale. Moreover, existing data and legislation on marine waste in Africa is both sparse and fragmented, emphasizing the need for action.
The AMWC will bring together and growing a network of researchers, educators, other practitioners, NGO's, business, media, and governments to meet the pollution challenges facing Africa, " Ribbink said.
Among a range of world class speakers already confirmed to speak on the conference is Sylvia Earle the renowned American marine biologist, explorer, author, Ted Talks winner and lecturer. She has been a National Geographic explorer-in-residence since 1998.
“People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet — we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.”
― Sylvia A. Earle: Key Note speaker at African Marine Waste Conference 2017.
For more information view www.sstconference.org.za