Conference 2017

Aug 21, 2017 | Conferences

The inaugural African Marine Waste Conference took place July 9th – 13th, 2017 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The conference was attended by approximately 230 delegates from 9 African states and a further 10 countries from other continents. The conference was a platform for delegates and experts from African countries and countries of other continents to discuss issues including data and research, capacity building, prosperity through the development of economic enterprises centred on waste management, education and awareness and the role of the consumer, government, industry and municipalities.

The focus was on solid waste in general and plastic pollution in particular. Delegates were invited to ask and answer the following questions regarding waste, “where is Africa now, where should Africa be in the future and how do we get there?” It was agreed that top priorities are:

  • education, capacity building and skills development
  • the need for measurable data to set baselines upon which strategies could be developed and against which progress towards goals could be monitored
  • the need to harness the circular economy, particularly providing economic incentive schemes and economic enterprises in poorer regions of Africa
  • networking and collaboration within countries and across borders.

The need for skills transfer to Africa was recognized, but it was agreed that solutions from elsewhere would need to cater to African circumstances and cultures.  A valuable outcome of the workshops was the recognition that in Africa, the pollution issues were related more to improving human health, socio-economic circumstances, providing employment and better living conditions than simply promoting environmental heath and saving lives of marine animals. Delegates also contributed and collaborated on the structure of the African Marine Waste Network and “Strategy for Marine Waste: Guide to Action for Africa”.

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Sam Ngaruiya

Sam has over 25 years’ experience as an international entrepreneur and business manager and held an Executive Manager position for 10 years. He is now the CEO of Regeneration Environmental Services Ltd. Which manufactures high quality building materials from recycled plastics. He is also a member of The FlipiFlop Expedition – a campaign seeking to raise awareness on marine pollution by sailing a traditional dhow made entirely from recycled plastic from Kenya to South Africa in 2018.

Manel Yahyaoui
Manel Yahyaoui hails from Tunisa and holds degrees in Engineering. Her awareness of marine pollution and her intense passion for education has driven her to become involved in marine waste issues.
Jaisheila Rajput
Rajput is founder and CEO of TOMA-Now, value chain specialists that focus on developing the green economy. She is passionate about developing economic models for sustainability and transforming the way we do business by creating practical and comprehensive solutions with long-term benefit. She has a career spanning over a decade in the automotive, chemical and construction industries around the world and her background includes technical, management systems, strategy and sustainability.
Zwelibanzi Mnguni
Mr Mnguni is the founder of and CEO of Destination Green Recycling and has a background in Civil Engineering. Destination Green Recycling is a youth-led recycling company operating in Tembisa, South Africa. Its core values include youth engagement, fair trade, and job creation.
Sylvia Earle
National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence, former chief scientist at NOAA and Mission Blue founder and president, Dr Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author and lecturer. She has led more than a hundred expeditions, logged over 7000 hours underwater, authored more than 190 scientific, technical and popular publications, holds 28 honorary degrees and is the recipient of more than a hundred national and international honours.
Pippa Howard
Howard is the Director of Business and Biodiversity at Fauna and Flora International, which focuses on engagement with the corporate sector and brokers collaboration and cooperation between business, government and civil society to address both practical and policy challenges to biodiversity conservation. She held the position of Senior Program Manager at the Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership (CPSL) and is a core member of the Biodiversity Working Group of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA).
Peter Murphy
Peter Murphy is the Alaska Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program and has been working on marine debris since 2007, beginning with a long-term project assessing impacts caused by hurricane Katrina and Rita in the Gulf of Mexico before transitioning to focus on Alaska in 2009. His work includes specific remote sensing and detection technologies for marine debris, but also multi-faceted issues of impacts and solutions at community level.
Linda Godfrey
Prof Godfrey is a Principal Scientist and Associate Professor at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa. She holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and heads up the Waste Research Development and Innovation (RDI) Roadmap Implementation Unit on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology.
Keith Wetmore
Mr. Wetmore is the owner and brain child of The Sustainable Seas Trust’s new research vessel, Boaz, which is set to travel the coastline of Southern Africa and to the islands of the Western Indian Oceans to promote education initiatives on marine waste and plastic pollution, as well as support scientific expeditions for data collection on these issues.
Karl H Foerster
Currently the Executive Director of Plastics Europe, Foerster has been working in the chemical and plastics industry in Europe, Asia, North America and more than 10 countries in Africa, for more than 30 years. He highlights the importance of developing long-lasting solutions to the issue of marine litter.
Julius Francis
Dr Francis currently works for the Western Indian Ocean Marine Science Association (WIOMSA) which is dedicated to promoting the educational, scientific and technological developments of all aspects of marine sciences. He has been involved in various aspects of conservation, research and management of coastal and marine environment in the West Indian Ocean for many years, and has recently been involved in setting up a regional platform for interactions between scientists and decision-makers under the auspices of the Nairobi Convention.
Jenna Jambeck
Dr Jambeck is an Associate Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA). She has been widely recognised for her work, and has been conducting research on solid waste issues for 20 years with related projects in marine debris since 2001 and also specialised in global waste management issues and plastic contamination. She is also the developer of the Marine Debris Tracker mobile app, a tool that continues to facilitate a growing global citizen science initiative.
Denise Hardesty
Dr Hardesty is a research scientist with CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship. For the past several years she has been leading a portfolio of marine debris projects which has resulted in global recognition of Australia’s role in cutting-edge marine debris work of high value and impact. In the last few years she has been providing expert opinion on marine debris related matters to the federal government, to non-government organizations, to industry stakeholders and NGOs within Australia and internationally.
Chris Whyte
Chris Whyte is the Managing Director of USE-IT which creates thousands of jobs in the recycling sector and has created a workable model for green economic development and innovation in South Africa. A multi-award winning NGO, USE-IT deals with every aspect of the waste stream and explores, invents and creates opportunities in waste benefaction that touch on a range of key aspects of sustainability.
Andre Share
Mr Share is the Chief Director of the Oceans and Coastal Research at the South African Department of Environmental Affairs and was previously the Chief Director of Marine Resources and Fisheries and Director in Marine Resource Management and Allocations in Cape Town for over a decade and a half.