Environmental groups concerned as government is 'considering importing plastic waste'
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Cape Town - Environmental organisations and groups urged South Africa to support a proposed global treaty/multilateral environmental agreement (MEA) on plastic pollution.
This after draft document by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (Deff) was leaked revealing their questionable stance on the topic.
According to the leaked document, the South African plastics industry does not support the establishment of a new MEA on plastics as the plastics, marine plastic litter and microbeads, as such are already partly, and can be fully accommodated in several MEAs.”
Greenpeace Africa’s Pan-African plastic project lead Angelo Louw said one of the most alarming realisations in the document was that government was considering importing plastic waste despite global outrage against using other countries as dumping sites.
“We advise government to realise that it is not sustainable to sacrifice our future for the short-term needs of a few. Africa is leading the way in dealing with the plastic issue,
“SA should not be left behind, nor should they derail the process,” said Louw.
AfriOceans founder Lesley Rochet said, “With SA as the 11th worst global offender for leaking land-based plastic into the ocean, we cannot afford not to embrace every opportunity of global collaboration, and therefore, need to support the new marine MEA to address this global crisis.”
Masifundise Development Trust director Naseegh Jaffer said: “The continuous use of plastics ends up in the food supplied to the broader nation for consumption and a focused code governing the manufacturing, use, and disposal of plastic is necessary now more than ever.”
DEFF spokesperson Albi Modise said leaked draft documents did not represent their decisions and no decision whatsoever was taken yet on any new international agreement that arises from the United Nations Environmental Assembly with regard to plastic waste.
“The import and export of plastic waste in SA is handled through the Basel Convention. Using this guidance, the department has set up systems to handle applications for approval.
“The applicants that intend to bring the plastic waste into the country are obliged to indicate the intended use of the plastics in the country,” said Modise.