Greenpeace Africa has put out a call to South African political parties and government to consider banning single-use plastic products.
Over the past few months, South Africa has seen a slow but steady decline in plastic use. This has been most prevalent in the hospitality sector, with restaurants and hotels opting for paper straws and paper packaging for their complementary sweets.
Now, Greenpeace Africa has called on South African political parties to adopt a ban on single-use plastic products. This includes earbuds, food packaging and disposable utensils such as plastic fork and knives. This comes as a consideration just in time for this year’s May elections.
According to the group, South Africa is far behind in the continental fight against single-use plastics. Single-use plastics affect the ocean and sea-life, and this has a direct affect on the country’s economy and the citizen’s health as South Africans are potentially exposed to consuming sea food that has most likely been in contact with plastic.
The Department of Environmental Affairs is reportedly in talks with industry bodies to phase out certain plastic products, with the intention of completely banning said products
The creator of an online campaign called VUMA.EARTH, Elaine Mills has said that South Africa is one of the most progressive nations in Africa in terms of legislation, so the slack in environmental priorities comes as a shock.
According to Plastics SA, however, South Africa is apparently doing well in the recycling field. Plastics SA is a representative of all South African Plastics Industry sectors. In a 2017 report, Plastics SA showed that South Africa recycles about 334 727 tons of plastic back into raw material. The report showed that South Africa’s recycling rate of 43.7 percent was significantly above Europe’s 31.1 percent.