Coast KZN

04 Sep 2020

Ban the bag: Greenpeace Africa implores public to comment on plastic regulations

(Berea Mail) Picture: Pexels: Plastic pollution.

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has called for public comment on amendments to plastic bag regulations which favour recycling, a false solution to the plastic pollution crisis, says Greenpeace Africa.   The organisation is urging the public to join them in submitting comments to the Department’s Director General Pamela Nxumalo, calling for a complete ban on single-use plastic bags.

“While it is encouraging that the South African government recognises that we need to act on the plastic pollution crisis, recycling is a false solution and will not yield any tangible results. We need a mindset shift away from single-use culture if we are to solve it.

“Greenpeace Africa is calling for a complete ban on these products, since only nine per cent of all plastic ever created has been recycled,” said Angelo Louw, Plastics Lead for Greenpeace Africa.

Greenpeace Africa has created a platform that directs public support from their website directly to Nxumalo. The call for comment allows for the organisation and supporters to engage the department in a meaningful and democratic way. Last year, Greenpeace Africa’s Cape Town volunteer group hand-delivered a petition, which gathered over 11 000 signatures, to South Africa’s top four political parties ahead of national elections, asking them to take the proposal of a single-use plastic ban to Parliament.

Despite a commitment by all parties involved, the conversation has not led to any meaningful political action.

Greenpeace said 35 countries across the continent have either passed a law banning plastics and implemented it or have passed a law with the intention of implementation.

“Plastic bans in Kenya and Rwanda have had tremendous impacts on safeguarding the environment, according to a recent UN Environment report. Greenpeace Africa urges the South African government to follow suit and join other African countries leading in the global fight against plastic pollution,” said Louw.