Open letter to Plastic Treaty negotiators from African Faith Leaders

Dear representatives of the Africa Group, and all attending the plastics treaty negotiations (INC-3),
We are archbishops, bishops, pastors, deacons, priests and church leaders from across the African continent, writing to you out of a concern for our brothers and sisters, and for the stewardship of God’s creation. At this significant time, as the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) comes to Africa, it is vital we work together to develop an ambitious and legally binding treaty on plastic pollution.
Plastic use in Africa is spiralling out of control. In fact, it is growing faster in sub-Saharan Africa than in any other part of the world. If the current trend continues, the region will produce almost six times more plastic waste in 2060 than it did in 2019, and many countries do not have the capacity to manage it. Plastic waste is three times more likely to be mismanaged in sub-Saharan Africa than in the rest of the world.
We’re facing mountains of plastic pollution, dumped or burnt across Africa. Yet, Jesus told his followers that even the smallest amount of faith can move mountains. We believe there is an alternative way forward.
Over half of African countries have taken ambitious steps to lead the world in banning certain plastic products, such as bags and sachets. However, implementing these bans has proved challenging and plastic waste is still finding its way into our poorest neighbourhoods, affecting and infecting the most vulnerable in our communities. Some of those most impacted live in Nairobi, host city for the negotiations.
Just a few miles away from the venue for INC-3, and just across the river from the populous area of Korogocho, stands the infamous Dandora dumpsite. The equivalent of 30 truckloads of plastic packaging is dumped there every day. This plastic waste is a breeding ground for mosquitoes, flies and vermin, increasing the risk of malaria, cholera, diarrhoeal disease and more. When plastic is openly burnt, it releases dangerous air pollutants that increase the risk of diseases such as heart disease, cancer, respiratory ailments, skin and eye diseases, and damage to the reproductive and nervous systems for those living nearby. The Nairobi river which flows alongside the Dandora dumpsite is heavily polluted yet many living both within Nairobi and downstream use its water for domestic and agricultural purposes.
Dandora is also home to thousands of waste pickers. They perform a critical environmental service by recovering recyclable materials with little or no support and indeed play a central role in the recycling economy across Africa. Yet, many work under harsh conditions in open dump sites such as Dandora, often for years on end, and suffer respiratory and numerous other ailments as a result.
Elsewhere in Africa, plastic waste is causing damage to soil and water quality, and threatening food production and the livelihoods of small-scale farmers who depend on livestock and crop production as their main source of income. A study in 2019 in Mponela, Malawi, found that 40 percent of slaughtered livestock had plastics in their gut. Dumped plastic across Africa also blocks drainages, contributing to flooding. In December 2022, more than 120 people were killed in Kinshasa, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, following heavy rains. Plastic waste blocked waterways, preventing the River Congo from draining properly, and flood waters reached people’s roofs, bringing the threat of waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhoea.
Plastic pollution is also jeopardising over half of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals across Africa, including climate action, clean water and sanitation, and zero hunger. It is crucial this plastic treaty delivers real change for communities across Africa, and especially those living in poverty who are most impacted by the plastic pollution crisis.
Africa faces challenges but also holds many solutions to plastic pollution: traditional practices of re-use and refill, pioneering recycling projects, and the integration of waste pickers in our waste management systems. The Africa Group has shown great leadership at the negotiations to date and has had significant influence on the content of the recently published zero draft.
With this in mind, we call upon you, as African delegates to INC-3, to continue to speak out boldly in favour of those options included in the zero draft of the treaty which would:
deliver ambitious, global, legally binding measures that reduce the amount of plastic produced and supplied in the first place
provide universal access to environmentally sound waste collection and recycling
prevent the dangerous waste management practices of open dumping and open burning
reject false waste management solutions such as burning plastic in cement kilns
ensure a just transition for waste pickers, including integrating them into mandatory, government-led Extended Producer Responsibility schemes
As archbishops, bishops, pastors and church leaders from across the continent, we urge you to speak boldly as these negotiations come to Africa, and to call for a treaty which delivers change for our most vulnerable brothers and sisters.
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
Signed by:
More than 80 leaders, including 20 Archbishops, Bishops and regional leaders from twelve countries: Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, DRC, Eswatini, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia
Primate and Archbishop Carlos S Matsinhe of Anglican Church of Mozambique and Angola
Archbishop Jackson Nasoore Ole Sapit, Anglican Province of Kenya
Bishop Augusto Domingos, Diocese of Cristo Rei (Christ the King), Angola
Rev. Lubunga W’ehusha Venance, Bishop and Legal Representative of Free Methodist Church, DRC
Bishop Dr Dalcy Dlamini, Bishop of the Anglican Church in Eswatini
Bishop Dr Brighton Vita Malasa, Malawi
Bishop Agostinho Roberto, Anglican Diocese of Maciene, Mozambique
Bishop Sergio Bambo, Anglican Diocese of Tete, Mozambique
Bishop Paulo Estevao Hansine, Anglican Diocese of Rio Pungue, Mozambique
Bishop Lucas Mchema, Anglican Diocese of Niassa, Mozambique
Bishop Vicente Msosa, Anglican Church in Mozambique
Bishop Lucas Mchema, Pastor of the Anglican Church in Mozambique
Bishop Stephen Diseko, Diocese of Matlosane, South Africa
Bishop Luke Pretorius, Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, South Africa
Bishop Mluleki Mbhashe, Anglican Church of South Africa
Bishop William Mchombo, Anglican Diocese of Eastern Zambia
Rev. Joseph Nganja Ngudya, President of the Rethy District and Pastor of the CECA20 Church, DRC
Pastor Pierre Anguzu, President of District ITURI-KIBALI/ Communauté Emmanuel, DRC
Venerable Silas Micheni, Archdeacon, Anglican Church of Kenya
Gregory Peme, Archdeacon of Central Matlosane Diocese, South Africa
Rev Dennis Nthenge, Priest in Anglican church of Kenya
Rev Capt. Kevin Gathaiya, Anglican Church of Kenya
Rev. Capt. Barrack Oluoch, Anglican Church of Kenya
Revd David Otieno, Anglican Church of Kenya
Rev Pascalin Kimongu, Anglican Church of Kenya
Rev. Charlotte Mangi, Anglican Church of Kenya
Rev. Ayub Reuben Opele, Anglican Church of Kenya
Pastor Michael Maina, Kenya
Obed L. Yusuf, OneTribe Church, Nairobi Kenya
Angeline Chepkorir Yegon, Pastor of CITAM, Kenya
Pastor Stephen Kitsao, Pentecostal Church in Kenya
Rev Canon Beatrice J A Oloo, Anglican Church of Kenya
Deacon Nduta Malinda, Kenya
Noah Meyo, Curate Anglican church in Kenya
Kelvin Randu, Diocesan CCMP Co-ordinator Malididi, Kenya
Rev Charlotte Mangi, Priest of All Saints Cathedral Diocese and CCMP co-ordinator, Kenya
Rev John Ngenye CCMP Nyahururu Diocese co-ordinator, Kenya
Rev Canon Joseph Mwangi, Africa Brotherhood Church, Kenya
Rev Josephine Chavaseki, Redeemed Gospel Church, Kenya
Rev Julius Njogu Nyamu, Priest in Anglican Church of Kenya
Rev Captain Clarice Obanda, Priest in Anglican Church of Kenya
Rev Stanley Wachira, Priest in Anglican Church of Kenya
Pastor Andre Ouedraogo, Assemblies of God, and National Coordinator for sustainable development INTEGRAL-BURKINA FASO, Burkina Faso
Pastor Levourne Passiri, Evangelical Church 36 N’Djamena, Chad
Kahwa Njojo, Pastor of the Anglican Church of DRC
Pastor Phanuel Dasoma Nzira, CECA20 church in Bunia, DRC
Pastor Celestin Kabungilwa Kuba, CECA20 church in Bunia, DRC
Pastor Jonas Kiningani Abhemuga, CECA20 Bunia Church and Member of USHINDI Ministry, DRC
Rev. Martin Nguba, Pastor of the Anglican Church of Congo, University Parish of Bunia, DRC
Rev Prof Fohle Lygunda li-M, Chief of theological department, DRC
Rev. Vincent Kamana, Pastor of the Anglican Church, University Parish of Bunia, DRC
Pasteur Samy Tibasima, Pastor in charge – Rwampara Church, DRC
Rev. Penuel Jariekong’a M., Pastor of the Church 80th AIC RDC of Bunia, DRC
Rev. Jerome Bhayo Leku, Pastor and Chaplain CE39 ABEDJU District, DRC
Mwinja Nyameshombo Jeaques, Senior Pastor, EPAAC Pentecostal Church, DRC
Ezekiel Nzibonera Chuguyu, Senior Pastor ERPFC / RF, DRC
Paul Bulyahyo, Parish Priest of Kavumu Catholic Parish, DRC
Pastor Emmanuel Mugisho, 8th CEPAC church Kabamba, DRC
Rev Kasaka Bukanga, 40th CECA Kavumu, DRC
Rev Prince Mwishogwa, ERPFC Chuch, Uamsho Kabamba, Kavumu, DRC
Pastor Habamungo, 8th CEPAC church, DRC
Pastor Shamavu, 8th CEPAC Buloho Kavumu, DRC
Rev Pastor Murhula Bisirusiru, Pastor 40th CECA Mudusa-Mudaka DRC
Rev Bahati Mirindiu, Pastor MJCRM Church, DRC
Representative Shamavu Lushombo, Reverand Pastor of EUCJ Church, DRC
Afolabi Olajide Olufemi, Vicar, Anglican Church in Nigeria
Revd Christine Benoit, Anglican Church of Seychelles
Mlungisi Mbele, Priest, Anglican Church of South Africa
Dennis, Rector of St. Luke Bloemhof, Diocese of Matlosane, South Africa
Christopher Seupe, Pastor of the Cathedral of the Resurrection, South Africa
Rector Ven Gwen, Anglican Church of South Africa
Canon Noluthando Gixana, Priest in the Anglican Church of South Africa
Percy Chinganga, Rector of College of the Transfiguration, South Africa
Pastor Riaan Botha, Potters House Melville, Christian Fellowship Ministries, South Africa
Rev Rodger Norman, Pastor St Pauls, Komga, South Africa
Rev Dr Rachel Mash, Environmental Coordinator Anglican Church of Southern Africa (Green Anglicans)
Rev Rory Middlecote, Pastor of St Nicholas United Church, South Africa
Canon Caroline Sebowane, Rector of St Augustine’s Ext 6 Ikageng, South Africa
Mondli Nkosi, Pastor (Priest) in the Anglican Church of South Africa
Reverend Cedrick Buthelezi, Anglican Church of South Africa
Fr Kunda Christopher, Roman Catholic Apostolic Church Zambia
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