Macro problems from microplastics: Toward a sustainable policy framework for managing microplastic waste in Africa

Gideon Gywa Deme, David Ewusi-Mensah, Oluwatosin Atinuke Olagbaju, Emmanuel Sunday Okeke, Charles Obinwanne Okoye, Elijah Chibueze Odii, Onome Ejeromedoghene, Eghosa Igun*, Joseph Okoro Onyekwere, Olayinka Kehinde Oderinde, Edmond Sanganyado

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Microplastic pollution is a ubiquitous and emerging environmental and public health concern in Africa due to increased plastic production, product and waste importation, and usage. While studies on the environmental monitoring and characterization of microplastics demonstrated the urgent need for a drastic reduction in plastic waste generation, the effectiveness of the various regulatory and policy interventions implemented or proposed in Africa countries remains poorly understood. We critically examined policies, legislations, and regulations enacted to control microplastic pollution in Africa to develop a sustainable, harmonized framework for the coordinated reduction of plastic waste generation across Africa. Analysis of the interventions revealed most African countries employed traditional perspective (i.e., command-and-control) approaches, whereby state instruments such as plastic ban, production and importation levies, and consumer taxes were enacted. However, the continued increase in microplastic waste generation suggests traditional perspective approaches might not be effective in Africa. Although rarely used in Africa, market-oriented approaches such as private-public waste management are often effective in controlling plastic pollution. Hence, we proposed a bottom-up hybrid regulatory approach for managing microplastics pollution in Africa, involving price-based, right-base, legislation and behavioral frameworks based on best practices in microplastic waste management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150170
Number of pages12
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date10 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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