• Andy Teale

Eco Brixs attends the UNEP Summit to tackle the plastic problem


Andy Bownds, Gee Elliott and Sinan from Eco Brixs attend the UNEP Conference in Kanya

This week, the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEP) is holding a conference in Nairobi to discuss the environmental challenges facing the world.


Part of the UNEA-5 event is discussing plastic pollution and how to battle it, especially as only 9% of the world's plastic is currently being recycled. Alongside delegates from all around the globe, the Eco Brixs team has joined this pivotal summit, which examines what methods can be used to tackle the global plastic problem.


Andy and Gee, our founders, and Sinan, our Production Manager, are currently there.


Below Sinan, who has been a climate justice advocate since he was young, explains why the environment is so important to him, and what he hopes will be achieved at the conference...


 

"I grew up in the Kamuli district, in a remote and rural village in Uganda. As a young kid, I would gather plastic security caps off plastic waste bottles from the streets, to produce my own playing ropes and use straws and empty soda bottles to create door entrance curtains for a living. What others threw away, I started to use as a valuable resource. This changed my mindset towards waste and I started to see the need and value in protecting the environment. After completing a BSc in Conservation Biology and being involved in pro-plastic advocacy and leadership at Makerere University, I joined Eco Brixs, as a Production Manager in 2020.

Through a circular economic model, Eco Brixs provides an innovative solution to address plastic pollution by converting plastic waste into value-added products for the construction and health industries, such as bricks, tiles and PPE, which not only addresses issues associated with plastics across the whole life-cycle but also creates much-needed employment opportunities for vulnerable communities. Since 2017, Eco Brixs has recycled over 500 tonnes of plastic, created more than 3000 additional income opportunities and is one of the leading recycling organisations in Uganda using a circular economic model.

Today, at the UNEA 5.2, we are joining more than 120 businesses and financial institutions, more than 700 civil society organizations and stakeholder groups, to call upon the Member States to agree a resolution for a legally binding agreement to combat plastic pollution. In order to tackle the challenge of plastic pollution, it is imperative that stakeholders from across civil society, academic, business and government come together to devise solutions that are focused on the whole life cycle of plastics whilst recognising the rights and needs of all individuals from across the plastics value chain. At the moment, there’s a lack of consensus on how to combat plastic pollution at an international level – the existing control regime is fragmented, unclear and lacking in urgency.

As the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, the decisions made this week at UNEA 5.2 provide the opportunity to help support the transition towards a circular economy where all individuals from across the plastics life cycle can be recognised. At Eco Brixs we work with over 3000 waste collectors who play an invaluable role in the waste management chain and their voices must be heard and listened to. We also believe that more financing for plastic reduction solutions in developing countries that lack waste management infrastructure is needed along with mandatory plastic reduction targets which governments will be subject to. We are now calling upon the Member States to adopt the draft resolution 'End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument.' There is no more time to waste."

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