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UNEP Executive Director meets Plastic Monster

Revolution Plastics Institute

3 min read Partner content

Inger Anderson, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, has come face to face with a ‘monster’ made of plastic collected by waste pickers from the informal settlement Mukuru in Nairobi.

Inger Anderson, Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, has come face to face with a ‘monster’ made of plastic collected by waste pickers from the informal settlement Mukuru in Nairobi. The encounter came at the launch of a new exhibition, co-hosted by the University of Portsmouth’s Revolution Plastics Institute, at the 6th United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-6) in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. 

Anderson, alongside Leila Benali, the President of UNEA-6, heard how plastic pollution is accelerating climate change and making the global impact worse.

They also met the lifesize Plastic Monster, known in Swahili as Jitu la Taka, which has been created by the Mukuru Youth Initiative as part of a larger project in collaboration with the Revolution Plastics Institute.  

The Revolution Plastics Institute has worked with GRID-Arendal and the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions to create the exhibit.  Its main aim is to urge decision makers at the crucial conference to consider the impacts of plastic pollution in conjunction with climate change and biodiversity loss.

We came here with a message – plastic action is climate action – and we’re delighted to have been able to deliver that message directly to those who are making critical decisions about the future of our planet.

– Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director of the Revolution Plastics Institute

Dr Cressida Bowyer, Deputy Director of the Revolution Plastics Institute, talked with the UN climate chief at UNEA-6. Dr Bowyer said: “We came here with a message – plastic action is climate action – and we’re delighted to have been able to deliver that message directly to those who are making critical decisions about the future of our planet.”

UNEA-6 brings together environment ministers from 193 member countries. It aims to set priorities for the global environmental agenda and is the planet’s top decision-making body on the environment. 

The five-day event (26th February - 1st March 2024) focuses on the links between the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. Backed by strong science, political resolve and engagement with society, UNEA-6 is an opportunity for world governments, civil society groups, the scientific community and the private sector to shape the global environmental policy. 

Whilst visiting the exhibition, Inger Anderson and Leila Benali heard first-hand from those at the forefront of the global plastics crisis. They watched a live performance of the song  “Pollution” by MHUB Studios featuring Billher, MC Sukuma, Teaboi and Nelmo Newsong. The catchy song has lyrics that link plastic pollution to climate change. 

The Revolution Plastics Institute has a proven track record of working collaboratively with communities on arts-based and co-created projects that seek solutions to the plastic pollution issues impacting us all. 

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