Do African cities have markets for plastics or plastics for markets?

Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Review Of African Political Economy, 2013, 40 (137), pp. 466 - 474
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We live in the `plastic age (Moore 2008). Unlike the 1940s when, after the Second World War, plastics were for the first time becoming a part of human society, the human environment is now characterised by plastics (Griffith 2010). The amount of plastic waste generated has also increased considerably. In turn, plastic waste has gained considerable attention among academics, policy-makers and civil society organisations. According to Astrup (2011), the advent of climate change has further increased the interest in plastic waste. Yet, there are huge gaps in the state of knowledge about causes of the explosion in plastic waste. The existing research focuses on how best it can be managed (e.g., Chan, Sinha and Wang 2011), and tends to take for granted causes, especially those linked to underlying economic systems. The provision of technical solutions and analysis (e.g., Tsuchida et al. 2011) by scientists dominate discussions of plastic waste and the tendency is to leave political economic concerns aside. In the words of Navia and Heipieper (2011, 564): Waste Management & Research serves as a forum for exchanging research expertise and scientific ideas supporting the development and application of novel biotechnological processes used in industrial waste management. In doing so, Waste Management & Research will particularly focus on biotechnological processes with lower energy demand, increased performance and shorter processing times with simultaneous achievement of the quality standards needed for final waste management.
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