Every minute in sub-Saharan Africa, enough plastic waste to cover a football pitch is openly dumped or burned. That’s according to the Christian development agency Tearfund who say the West’s “addiction” to single use plastics is fuelling a global crisis where 2 billion people have no safe way to dispose of rubbish, and are forced to live and work among piles of waste. 

In Dandora, Nairobi (pictured), the equivalent of 30 truckloads of plastic packaging is dumped every day. 

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Air pollution kills millions every year, with many deadly illnesses caused by toxic fumes being released as rubbish is burned. Last November, the United Nations brought together 150 governments to negotiate a global treaty on plastic pollution, which Tearfund says has the potential to be “world changing”. However, following the conclusion of the talks, Tearfund said a “low ambition group” had been able to “scupper plans for further formal work”. A follow-up meeting is due to be held in Canada in April, where it is hoped more progress can be made. 

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Rev Dennis Ntheng

Rev Dennis Nthenge, chaplain to the Archbishop of Kenya, who attended the UN talks with Tearfund, said: “Plastic use is an escalating crisis in Africa. As we embark on what should be the final year of negotiations, the urgency of a transformative treaty becomes evident…I urge citizens around the world to join a global rallying in 2024 to demand decisive action against plastic pollution, tipping the scales towards a world-changing treaty.”

Find out more and sign the petition at tearfund.org/campaigns/rubbish-campaign