Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF) commemorates World Environment Day, 5th June 2023
The World Environment Day 2023 commemoration focuses on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. #BeatPlasticPollution calls for global solutions to combat plastic pollution.
World Environment Day is a global platform for inspiring positive change and an environmental awareness day on environment and specific environmental issues held on June 5th every year. Led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and held annually since 1973, it has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach. World Environment Day was established in 1972 but first held in 1974, which shows that concern about the environment goes back several decades at least. People from more than 150 countries participate in this United Nations international day, which celebrates environmental action and the power of governments, businesses and individuals to create a more sustainable world. Environment Day is the United Nations' most important platform for raising awareness about the environment and the day focuses on environmental concerns ranging from pollution to global warming and sustainable food production to protection of wildlife. It is celebrated by millions of people across the world.
World Environment Day 2023 is hosted by Côte d'Ivoire. It is a reminder that people’s actions on plastic pollution matters. The steps governments and businesses are taking to tackle plastic pollution are the consequence of this action.
The world is being inundated by plastic. More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 per cent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers and seas. Today, plastic clogs our landfills, leaches into the ocean and is combusted into toxic smoke, making it one of the gravest threats to the planet. Not only that, what is less known is that microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink and even the air we breathe.
Microplastics that is tiny plastic particles up to 5mm in diameter – find their way into food, water and air. It is estimated that each person on the planet consumes more than 50,000 plastic particles per year –and many more if inhalation is considered. Discarded or burnt single-use plastic harms human health and biodiversity and pollutes every ecosystem from mountain tops to the ocean floor. With available science and solutions to tackle the problem, governments, companies and other stakeholders must scale up and speed actions to solve this crisis. Many plastic products contain hazardous additives, which may pose a threat to our health. Some 11 million tonnes of plastic waste flow annually into oceans. This may triple by 2040. More than 800 marine and coastal species are affected by this pollution through ingestion, entanglement, and other dangers. Globally, there are an estimated 51 trillion microplastic particles in our seas.
This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day in mobilizing transformative action from every corner of the world. A shift to a circular economy can reduce the volume of plastics entering oceans by over 80 per cent by 2040; reduce virgin plastic production by 55 per cent; save governments US$70 billion by 2040; reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25 per cent; and create 700,000 additional jobs mainly in the global south.
The good news is that we have science and solutions to tackle the problem –and a lot is already happening. What is needed most now is a surge of public and political pressure to scale up and speed actions from governments, companies and other stakeholders to solve this crisis. This underscores the importance of this World Environment Day mobilizing action from every corner of the world.
The Environmental Investment Fund in commemorating this day recognizes plastic pollution is a visible threat that impacts every community. Prevalence of plastic in the Namibian environment is a considerable threat to human and environmental health – humans, livestock, wildlife, fish, birds and the broader environment. Plastic bags are one of the most unsightly forms of waste in Namibia and are highly visible on the outskirts of all Namibian towns and cities, informal settlements and in Namibia’s marine environment. Plastic bags warrant particular measures to reduce their usage due to their prevalence, visibility, durability and harmful effects on the environment.
Namibia has recently introduced the plastic levy. The plastic bag levy came as a result of cabinet directive on plastic bag levy for which regulations were developed using the Customs and Exercise Act, EIF Act and Environmental Management Act. The government gazetted environmental levy on plastic in August 2019 and the levy is amongst the many ways that is meant to discourage people from using plastic bags in an effort to also control plastic pollution. The objectives of the environmental levy/taxes is aimed at reducing the quantity of residual material by encouraging recovery and reclamation of discarded electronic appliances, used lubricants, and batteries. All levies that are charged on customers or producers or supplies.
It is important to note that there would be no revenue that would accrue to the state from a ban. A levy generates revenue to be re-invested into initiatives for improved waste management including waste minimization, recycling and anti-littering measures. The levy is less drastic than an outright ban. An outright ban would require significant short-term re-adjustments and would be potentially disruptive in terms of having sufficient alternatives available such as biodegradable bags or other forms of packaging.
Certain types of plastic bags or packaging are necessary for hygiene purposes for certain items such as fresh fish, nuts and meat products etc. Banning “thinner” plastic bags may lead to further adverse impacts. It should be better to ban bags containing CaCO3. Article 25 of the SACU Agreement allows each member to prohibit or restrict import of any goods for economic, social, cultural or other reasons. This will prevent the popularization of these types of bags as has happened in South Africa. Banning the use of plastic bags in Protected Areas would be a demonstration of our commitment to maintain the health and pristine nature of our most important areas of biodiversity.
Determining the right price for a plastic bag levy has the potential to change consumer behaviour and to raise awareness of the importance of environmental protection. The introduction of a levy has stimulated research and innovation in terms of alternative types of packaging and materials. Each of the measures proposed is fully in line with Goal 4.5 of the Namibian Retail Sector Charter which seeks to minimize the adverse impacts of products on the environment. The issue of plastic bags and waste generated from plastic materials continues to create devastating waste management stress amongst our local authorities especially small town around the country. Our envisioned waste management plan conjunction with the National Solid Waste Management Council will not just be aimed at contributing to sustainable waste management, but stimulate for initiatives that are needed by local towns and municipalities to manage the non-biodegradable waste that has become nuisances to Namibia and the globe.
The effective and comprehensive implementation of the environmental levies will serve as a measure to close the financial gap which affects the ability for the Fund to award grants or concessional loan in order to broaden the expanding resources base and investment in sustainable development. From a principled point of view, the Fund sees the environmental levies as an investment towards the green economy and development of new industries that are focused on sustainable development and renewable energy, creation of decent jobs and wealth, poverty reduction and incentive-based approach.
In the past, the Fund embarked on a successful waste management campaign titled “Drive Your Rubbish Home.” This campaign was launched by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism. The aim of the campaign is to embark on a waste management campaign with the purpose of engaging communities and changing attitudes towards waste management.
The bigger plan and intention is to fund a productive plastic recycling facilities, however this should be informed by a full business proposal. Recycling facilities support the fulfilment of its mandate, as the Fund receive plastic levies, it’s also obliged to support initiatives that are addressing the same challenges in the industry. This is part of the re-investment strategy in support of addressing the national waste management actions. Funding a productive plastic recycling facility will not just contribute to sustainable waste management, but an initiative needed by local towns and municipalities to manage the non-biodegradable waste that has become nuisances to Namibia and the globe.
The levy is amongst the many ways that is meant to discourage people from using plastic bags in an effort to also control plastic pollution. The environmental levy/taxes is further aimed at reducing the quantity of residual material by encouraging recovery and reclamation of discarded electronic appliances, used lubricants, and batteries.
Time is running out, and nature is in emergency mode. To keep global warming below 1.5°C this century, we must halve annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Without action, exposure to air pollution beyond safe guidelines will increase by 50 per cent within the decade and plastic waste flowing into aquatic ecosystems will nearly triple by 2040.
Last year, 175 UN Member States endorsed a historic resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement that will be ready by the end of 2024. This is the most significant environmental multilateral deal since the Paris accord. It is an insurance policy for this generation and future ones, so they may live with plastic and not be doomed by it.
As the world’s population approaches 8 billion and resource use intensifies, pollution is ever more extensive, pervasive, and persistent. It affects our health through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe. By 2025, the world’s cities will produce 2.2 billion tonnes of waste every year, more than three times the amount produced in 2009. That said, pollution is not a new phenomenon and is largely controllable and often avoidable, as shown in some countries and cities that have succeeded in decoupling economic growth from pollution and waste accumulation.
With the end goal to eradicate all forms of pollution by 2030, the UN Environment Programme was tasked by the UN Environment Assembly to coordinate the implementation of a global plan "Towards a pollution-free planet”. Addressing pollution is not only an environmental priority, it's a priority for the achievement of the SDGs.
Mr. Benedict Libanda, Chief Executive Officer of the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia echoed this year’s theme by highlighting that #Beating Plastic Pollution# is the only choice we have as plastic pollution is a problem of our making but the solution lies in our hands and We must take ambitious action along the plastic lifecycle. The scourge of plastic pollution is a visible threat that impacts every community.
The Environmental Investment Fund in commemorating this day recognizes the “Beat Plastic Pollution” campaign and urge the nation to collectively scale up efforts and partnerships for the end to plastic pollution as its detrimental impacts on health, the economy and the environment cannot be ignored. Plastic, a danger for climate change. Plastic is predominantly produced from oil and gas, both of which are fossil fuels. The more plastic we make, the more fossil fuel is required, the more we intensify the climate crisis. Also, plastic products create greenhouse gas emissions across their whole lifecycle. If no action is taken, greenhouse gas emissions caused by plastic could account for 19% of the Paris Agreement's total allowable emissions in 2040 to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Read more about climate change.
The Fund is therefore retaliating its commitment to ending plastic pollution and is proud to be a champion for diverse treatments for the plastic pandemic. It is time to accelerate this action and transition to a circular economy. Namibia must therefore take ambitious action along the plastic lifecycle. The scourge of plastic pollution is a visible threat that impacts every community. Let’s reduce the production and consumption of single-use plastic, which can and must be replaced with durable and sustainable alternatives. It’s is time to #BeatPlasticPollution and shift to reusable packaging. Let’s show the earth that it is worth it and save it. The solution is less pollution. A clean earth, is a green earth.
#Let’s Unite to Save the Environment! #Saving Environment is the ultimate end game! #Invest in plants & enliven our future generations. #Say no to pollution & Yes to Recycle! #Live green, Breathe Green, Go green! #Save the earth, save our environment! #It’s the need of the hour, we need to save the earth! #Let’s Unite to Save the Environment! # Think Green, Act Green, Live Green! # Save the Earth, it's our only home!