Strengthening knowledge and capacity to prevent and reduce releases of plastic waste in Malawi and Zimbabwe

The project ‘Strengthening knowledge and capacity to prevent and reduce releases of plastic waste in Malawi and Zimbabwe’, financed by the Norwegian Retailers’ Environment Fund (Handelens Miljøfond), aims to protect human health and the environment from plastic waste by strengthening knowledge and capacity among decision makers in Malawi and Zimbabwe on (a) transboundary movements (TBM) of plastic wastes; (b) environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic wastes and (c) prevention and minimization of the generation of plastic wastes.

The project targets three critical intervening variables that are oftentimes at the core of the limited capacity of developing countries in tackling plastic waste: (a) the degree of awareness, knowledge and expertise among government officials and other relevant stakeholders; (b) the existence of adequate legislation, policies, strategies and institutions; and (c) the lack of strategies in key sectors to prevent and minimize the generation of plastic waste and microplastics. These factors are addressed across the three dimensions of managing hazardous and other wastes that are also at the heart of the Basel Convention: controlling the Transboundary Movements (TBM) of plastic waste; ensuring the ESM of plastic waste; and tackling sources of plastic waste. Given their limited resources and the significant challenges they face in addressing plastic pollution, the project will focus on Malawi and Zimbabwe. The project will be implemented from January 2021 until June 2023.

The project features activities across 3 substantive components:

Controlling the transboundary movements (TBM) of plastic wastes

  • Review the national regulatory, policy and institutional framework to implement and enforce control of TBM of plastic waste in line with the Basel Convention;
  • Draft recommendations to improve the regulatory, policy and institutional framework to implement the Basel Convention Plastic Waste Amendment; and
  • Train competent and enforcement authorities and other stakeholders in TBM of plastic waste.

Ensuring the environmentally sound management (ESM) of plastic wastes

  • Develop a national inventory of plastic waste using the draft methodology;
  • Review the national regulatory, policy and institutional framework to allow for the ESM of plastic waste in line with the Basel Convention;
  • Draft recommendations to improve the regulatory, policy and institutional framework and develop a national strategy to allow for the ESM of plastic waste; and
  • Train competent and enforcement authorities as well as workers in the informal sector in the ESM of plastic waste.

Tackling sources

  • Identify stakeholders and identify existing initiatives to tackle plastic waste at source in the packaging / fisheries / textile / cosmetics sectors;
  • Develop strategies to implement pilot tests of practices, design and processes to tackle plastic waste at source in the target sectors;
  • Implement the pilot tests in the target sectors; and
  • Evaluate the pilot tests to identify insights and lessons learned for future replication.