The Coca-Cola Foundation has pledged a $10m grant to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to combat plastic waste in seven African islands.  

The foundation provided the grant through the IslandPlas project. 

This project is designed to implement circular solutions to mitigate plastic waste leakage and promote the transition towards waste-free environments. 

The three-year IslandPlas project will focus on the Mauritius, Cabo Verde, Comoros, Madagascar, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, and Zanzibar islands.  

It aims to improve the livelihoods of around 9,600 individuals in the informal waste sector, reduce plastic waste by collecting an estimated 14,000 tonnes (t), and recycle approximately 5,600t. 

The project will also drive economic growth by investing $2m for innovation and enterprise development in the sector. 

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Coca-Cola Foundation president Carlos Pagoaga said: “We believe in solutions that accelerate the transition toward a circular economy and stem the flow of waste leakage into rivers and oceans. 

“Our support will empower local waste actors and encourage innovations to help the collection and recycling of packaging waste.”  

The IslandPlas project aligns with the Ministerial Declaration on the Blue and Circular Economy in the Island States of Africa and the Indian Ocean, adopted in September 2023. 

The project leverages the IUCN’s expertise and global network to foster innovation and utilise the human capital of the seven islands.  

It aims to transform local knowledge into sector-specific, locally appropriate innovations to address the plastic packaging waste challenges. 

IUCN Eastern and Southern Africa regional director Luther Bois Anukur said: “IslandPlas is a groundbreaking initiative that takes a comprehensive, community-centric approach to tackling the plastic pollution crisis on Islands. 

“By focusing on collection, recycling, empowering waste workers, and promoting alternative business models, we are offering a replicable model for collaborative action that will protect our oceans and empower local Island communities.” 

Last month, The Coca-Cola Foundation joined forces with the US Agency for International Development to address the plastic waste problem in Nigeria.