Challenges of plastic waste generation and management in sub-Saharan Africa: A review

Olusola Olaitan Ayeleru, Sisanda Dlova, Ojo Jeremiah Akinribide, Freeman Ntuli, Williams Kehinde Kupolati, Paula Facal Marina, Anton Blencowe, Peter Apata Olubambi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Recently, the issues of land-based plastics and their associated challenges in the marine world have been widely publicised in the media and scientific literature. Thus far, despite these communications, there have been few reports that have focused on the issues that acute plastic waste generation and its poor management pose to human health and the global environment. Also, articles on ways to mitigate these issues particularly in sub-Saharan Africa have not been documented. Indeed, there is significant scope for improvements in plastic waste management in developing countries, which offer a wide range of economic and environmental benefits. Plastic waste generation in sub-Saharan Africa is dependent on many factors like urbanization, etc. Currently, the population of sub-Saharan Africa is around 1 billion as of the year 2019, the amount of generated waste is 180 million tonnes at the rate of 0.5% per capita per day, the amount that is openly dumped is 70% and the plastic waste generated annually is 17 million tonnes. Therefore, this study aims to provide an overview of the plastic lifecycle and problems associated with plastic waste management in sub-Saharan Africa, including current practices, public participation and opinion, and government regulations. In addition, this highlight aims to outline the impact of plastic waste proliferation on man and the environment; and the economic and environmental benefits of proper plastic waste management. Critical discussion of current processes and the suitability of potential solutions provide the basis for proposition on mitigation measures to avert the negative impact of plastic waste.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-42
Number of pages19
JournalWaste Management
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Waste Management and Disposal


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