Media Room

AMWC 2017 - New Speakers Announced!

Sustainable Seas Trust and the African Marine Waste Network are excited to announce that Sylvia Earle, Jenna Jambeck, Kristian Teleki, Nancy Wallace, Hayley McLellan, Willemijn Peeters, and Michael Melato will all be speaking at the upcoming African Marine Waste Conference 2017!

The Conference will be taking place between 9 to 13 July 2017 at the Feather Market Centre in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
For more information, check out the AMWC 2017 website

Check out our newsletter to see full biographies for each speaker

Img 3354

Michael Melato, Transnet National Ports Authority

Sylvia Earle                     Jenna Jambeck          

Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue                                            Jenna Jambeck, Jambeck Research Group

Teleki 2015                                    Wallace Bio Photo2

Kristian Teleki, Prince of Wales                                         Nancy Wallace, NOAA

Hayley Mc Lellan   

 Hayley McLellan, Two Oceans Aquarium                                

Video: Morning Live - African Marine Waste Network Launched in Port Elizabeth


Press Release

28 July 2016

A launch to save our continent

On Monday and Tuesday, Sustainable Seas Trust launched the African Marine Waste Network at Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. It was an auspicious occasion that was well-attended by national and provincial government departments, municipalities, a broad spectrum of business organizations, several universities and NGOs, representatives from aquaria, cubs and societies, all with a keen interest in meeting the pollution challenges that have been precipitated by people. More than 80% of pollution originates on land, before leaking into the estuaries and seas, so a big focus of discussions was on how we can better manage pollution in our homes, schools, factories, municipalities and harbours. Attention was also given to pollution and waste from ships, boats and oil rigs. 

The workshop on Monday, attended by 80 delegates, had two specific objectives: to obtain expert recommendations on how best the network could bring people of the 38 coastal and island states of Africa together in a concerted movement to reduce waste and other forms of pollution around Africa, and the second aspect was what should be in the strategy, a guide book, on the types of actions, policies and procedures that are need to transform behaviour of people from all walks of life. Leaders in policy, in education, in networking and management, science, manufacturing, recycling, as well as challenges in municipalities, tourism, harbours and ports to how GIS (Geographic Information System) can be used as a tool to understand the distribution, accumulation and removal of marine waste in Africa, the workshop delved into these and other questions related to setting up a strategy for the Network. All helped build an outline of the strategy. The goal is to have the strategy ready for international review by June 2017 when Port Elizabeth will host an international waste conference. 

Organiser of the event, CEO of the Sustainable Seas Trust, Dr Tony Ribbink said: I was particularly pleased to see the way in which academia, business, government, civil society networked, demonstrating how seriously they are taking the pollution issue. Indeed, we all need to do this; because, frighteningly, our planet is so badly polluted that every breath you take, every drop you drink, every morsel of food you eat anywhere is polluted; in some places so badly polluted it can kill you, in others only races of pollution are found. The teams working together on Monday gave me confidence that we can turn matters around so that our children’s tomorrow will be better than it is today”.

The official launch on Monday evening saw guest speakers voicing their support for this new project, and indicated how they saw their own role in the network. The interconnectedness of the various sectors in solving the problem of plastic pollution, and waste at large, was clearly enunciated. Speakers included Deputy Vice-Chancellor of NMMU, Prof Andrew Leitch, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Business Chamber, Mr Kevin Hustler and Executive Director of Plastics SA, Mr Anton Hanekom, Mr Andre Share of Operation Phakisa, Councillor Rory Riordan of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, Ms Mandlakazi Skefile, the CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism and Sakhumzi Somyo, the MEC for Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

The event was marked by a memorable performance by the NMMU Choir, and the effervescent Master of Ceremonies, Ms Buli G. The atmosphere during the choir’s performance was electric and emulated the excitement of launching this ambitious project. 

Mr Kristian Teleki, the Senior Marine Advisor to the Prince of Wale’s International Sustainability Unit gave the keynote address. His talk focussed on how valuable plastic is to our society and economies, but he also discussed the massive impact that plastic has on the environment. The purpose of his analysis was to look at ways in which human beings can co-exist with plastic until other alternatives are found. He ended his talk titled “The Plastic Dilemma” by saying: "This is not a blame game. This challenge is on a massive scale and cannot be tackled by one group. It is about dialogue and innovation coming together to tackle major challenges and find new opportunities in material efficiency". He stressed the huge importance of developing the African Marine Waste Network, showing that the problems in Africa are clearly growing and in desperate need of collaboration among countries and pollution and waste know no boundaries.

The official launch of the African Marine Waste Network anchored a programme which has already commenced and will add impetus to a multidisciplinary and cross-boundary offensive which is certain to improve the quality of life of millions of people and which might be a step towards saving our planet and our continent. The project will be run from Port Elizabeth, adding to the growing number of national and international marine initiative that are centred in Nelson Mandela Bay.

To find out more about the African Marine Waste Network and how you can join the network please contact or call 076 608 3587.

By working together, we as a country and more importantly as a continent can make a difference! 

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Press Release

20 July 2016

Upcoming launch of the African Marine Waste Network

On July 25th, the Sustainable Seas Trust (SST), Plastics SA and other partners will launch the African Marine Waste Network (AMWN) in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape. 

The growing amount of debris and other waste that enters the seas of Africa, mainly from the land, is costing many millions of dollars each year. This debris is negatively affecting human health, degrading terrestrial and aquatic environments, and killing marine animals. While plastics and other debris are valuable resources, the reuse of this plastic is being largely lost in Africa. 

  The two day event will highlight this problem, and explore ways of combatting this plight. It will allow for national and international experts to participate in a planning workshop, the celebration of the official launch, public lectures and the first meeting of the Network’s Advisory Panel. The purpose of this initiative is to look at ways in which organisations and individuals alike can work together at creating healthier and cleaner oceans for future generations. 

  The primary role for this Network is to bring people from around the African continent together to define, develop and implement a waste strategy. The Network aims to solve problems locally, but will also serve to help other countries strive toward waste free oceans. In working together, this strategy will encourage the people of Africa to reduce their negative footprint and promote their positive handprints in their own environment. This waste strategy will be the first ripple effect of what is intended to become a wave of change Africa. 

A central role for the Network is to bring people of Africa together to develop and implement the strategy, ultimately setting their own local, national and regional targets and monitoring their success. To be effective the strategy must provide clear plans on what needs to be done to:
The keynote speaker at the launch will be Mr Kristian Teleki, currently the Senior Marine Advisor to the Prince of Wale’s International Sustainability Unit and the Director of Engagement for the Global Ocean Commission. His talk will focus on how valuable plastic is to our society and economies, but also look at the massive impact that plastic has on our environment. The purpose of his talk is to look at ways in which we can co-exist with plastic, until other alternatives are found. 

Other speakers at the event are Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson, Prof Derrick Schwartz, Vice-Chancellor at Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan University who is a Patron of SST, Mr Anton Hanekom, the Executive Director of Plastics SA, Mr Kevin Hustler CEO of Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber, and Councillor Rory Riordan will welcome the visitors to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Launching the Network in Port Elizabeth is appropriate, as Algoa Bay in Port Elizabeth is one of South Africa’s six Hope Spots. Although the launch is in South Africa, the African Marine Waste Network will be the first dedicated approach to address marine waste at a Pan-African level. The Network and its strategy will incorporate 38 coastal and island states of Africa, which makes the facilitation of this project in South Africa, a huge coup. 

The problem is so great that no single organization, town or country can meet the challenges alone. There must be a cross-border approach with all affected countries working together to solve the problem.

The official launch of this initiative is open to the public and will take place on Monday 25 July, at 18:30 at the NMMU South Campus Auditorium.

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