National Marine Litter Analysis in Mozambique

Plastic litter on the grass embankment of a beach

Mozambique is endowed with 2,470 km of coastline with more than half of its population making its livelihood within coastal communities. Given the extent of its coastline, Mozambique has a high risk of mismanagement of plastic waste eventually causing damage to marine life and industry.

Researchers estimate that approximately 80% of ocean plastics emanate from land sources including non-point based sources like agriculture and storm-water runoff, and point sources such as wastewater and solid waste. Other ocean plastics are thought to be from from marine sources including abandoned, lost or discarded fishing equipment. Plastic waste entering the ocean poses a threat to diverse marine life, fisheries, tourism and marine transport in the Southwest Indian Ocean.

The Government of Mozambique recognizes marine litter pollution as a common resource challenge which requires regional and global action. As part of the ambitious Mozambique ProBlue (MozAzul) Programme, Pillar 2, the National Marine Litter Analysis in Mozambique seeks to respond by first improving understanding of the marine litter problem in the country.

The Ministry of Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries (MIMAIP) is laying the foundation for a broader approach to the sustainable blue economy development in Mozambique. A national action plan to combat marine litter is in preparation through MIMAIP which entails highlighting priority reform areas for policymakers in relation to marine litter.

Cardno is delivering a parallel marine litter study in Kenya with the Resources and Waste Advisory Group (RWA), a consulting company specialised in waste management, and has renewed its partnership with RWA for the Mozambique marine litter assessment. The specific objectives of the assignment are to develop a baseline of the production, input and disposal stages of the marine litter and to identify priority areas for intervention.

The analysis will cover the entire life cycle and circular economy of marine litter. It will document the distribution of marine litter in the ocean, on the coast, and in the nearshore environment, and identify priority areas where marine litter has the largest impact on Mozambique’s coastal and marine environment.

The study will also carry out a consumer behaviour analysis on marine litter, which will assist in the analysis of existing gaps in Mozambique’s regulatory, policy and institutional framework. This key component of the study will cover existing Mozambican regulations, policies and standards relevant to the entire life cycle of plastics including from the upstream processes to downstream, post-use processes. It will provide insights into the existing national and sub-national regulatory framework and inform government strategies and the potential for institutional capacity building as related to marine litter management.

Analysis and recommendations from the project will support the Government of Mozambique in the development of the country’s blue economy, including key contributions to the upcoming action plan, which will provide a road map for action in the marine sector.