EAC Partner States have increased waste generation with organic waste representing 57 per cent of generated waste, more than the world average of 46 per cent where the proportion of paper and plastic waste is higher.
The East Africa Business Council (EABC) John Kalisa made the remarks during the Africa Waste is Wealth Series–Eastern Africa conference taking place in Nairobi.
“Waste collection and transport services are mainly in urban centres with 55 per cent of collection coverage and less than 9 per cent in peri-urban and rural areas,” he said.
According to research by the Institute for Ecosystem Research, Germany & Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2022), the annual waste generated in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) increased by more than 100 per cent from 81 million tonnes to 174 million tonnes per year between 2012 and 2016.
Waste is expected to reach 269 million tonnes in 2030. In 2018, SSA’s municipal solid waste (MSW) collection coverage was estimated to be 44 per cent.
EAC is endowed with various transboundary resources both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems that are the drivers of local livelihoods along with national and regional development.
It is, however, worth noting that rapid urbanization, an emerging middle class, and changing consumption patterns in the EAC have resulted in inefficiencies in the storage, collection, transportation, and final treatment/disposal of waste in urban centres.
Most of the wastes generated in the EAC comprise kitchen wastes, compound wastes, and floor sweepings.
Findings show that despite the involvement of private waste collectors, collection and coverage rates are still below expectations with the main impediments being backlogs of collected waste in public spaces, especially in low-income neighbourhoods where collection efforts are critically low.
As East Africans, we should all embrace the concept of Zero Waste and transition our business models from linear to a circular economy.
“Our latest study on the impact of global crises on food security reveals that agriculture in the EAC heavily relies on rainfall, making it vulnerable to the effects of climate change,” he said.
A one-degree Celsius increase in temperature in developing countries is associated with a three-percentage point decline in agricultural output.
This is further exacerbated by food loss and wastage (FLW) that occurs at various stages of the food value chain.