Turning the Tide: UNDP and Somali Youth Advocate for a Plastic-Free Future on World Environment Day

June 5, 2023

With the longest coastline on mainland Africa, plastic pollution has huge implications for Somalia, imperilling public health and the economy.

Plastic pollution poses a major global problem, with 400 million tons of plastic produced annually. Each day, over 2,000 garbage trucks deposit plastic waste into our oceans, rivers, and lakes, yet only a third of it undergoes recycling.

In Somalia, the issue of plastic pollution is particularly pressing due to rapid urbanization and coastal contamination, which endanger the environment and human health. Furthermore, plastic production exacerbates the climate crisis as it heavily relies on fossil fuels.

Numerous studies have identified effective methods to reduce plastic pollution by 80 percent, including reusing, recycling, and exploring alternatives to plastics. Urging policymakers worldwide to adopt a comprehensive approach, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) calls for the implementation of regulations and policies that cover the entire life cycle of plastic. 

In line with this objective, UNDP recently conducted a three-day training program for officials from nine districts and one settlement in Somalia. The training aimed to equip them with knowledge and best practices to combat plastic waste pollution and enhance waste management in urban areas.

To translate these solutions into action, it is crucial for national policies and regulations to promote the use of recycled materials, establish monitoring systems, and provide financial incentives. Collaboration is key, as governments, industries, and citizens must work together to reduce our dependence on plastic.

In support of this mission, UNDP is partnering with Somali Youth, national and international authorities to organize an advocacy event in Mogadishu. The event will feature a one-day cleanup, during which all participants will actively engage in cleaning Mogadishu beach. Their participation will demonstrate their commitment to responsible citizenship while advocating for the adoption of a zero waste approach and the establishment of a circular economy that fosters a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable future.

By safeguarding our environment, we are investing in a better future for ourselves, our communities, and future generations.