As the fossil fuel industry deals with dropping prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a climate crisis, they’re looking to Africa to reverse its limits on plastics.
After China closed its borders to plastic trash, manufacturers are specifically looking to Kenya to serve as a “hub” for supplying U.S. made chemicals and plastics to other markets, but like many other countries they have grappled with the use of plastic.
In 2019, U.S. exporters shipped over 1 billion pounds of plastic waste to 96 countries including Kenya to be recycled, but much of the waste is hard to recycle and ends up in rivers and oceans.
In Nairobi, local groups are worried. “My concern is that Kenya will become a dumping ground for plastics,” said Dorothy Otieno of the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development. “And not just for Kenya, but all of Africa.”
More than 180 countries have agreed to restriction to regulate plastic as hazardous waste under the Basel Convention, making it far tougher to ship plastic waste to developing countries.
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