Cape Town - The Department of Forestry, Fishing and the Environment (DFFE) responded to concerns from various environmental groups on the country’s stance on the proposed global plastic treaty, their considerations to import more plastic waste, and the effectiveness of their current systems in reducing plastic waste.
DA parliamentary spokesperson for environment, forestry and fisheries Dave Bryant said it was vital to establish the facts after a leaked document was brought to their attention in June, which suggested the national DFFE would not support the proposed global treaty on reducing plastic pollution and that they were investigating the importation of plastic waste from other countries
DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy responded to Byrant and said they have been actively participating in the UN Environment Assembly’s Ad Hoc Open-Ended Expert Group on Marine litter and Micro-plastics, where the treaty was considered.
“SA has not finalised the due process to inform any pronouncement on a position concerning the global treaty for plastic pollution. This will only be done after a position paper is taken through the Cabinet Cluster process,” said Creecy.
Creecy also said the country’s current systems and processes were effective in significantly reducing the amount of plastic waste, especially waste going into the ocean.
Regarding the import of plastic waste, Creecy said applicants were obliged to indicate the intended use of plastics and evidence of scarcity of the type of plastic waste they intended to import.
“The response to my question has not shown any intention to sign the global treaty and this should be very concerning for all those who care about our environment, in particular the marine environment where plastic pollution is having a devastating impact,” said Byrant.
Extinction Rebellion Cape Town spokesperson Michael Wolf said despite various half-hearted attempts of government to reduce and manage the problem, plastic waste was on the increase year after year and on the current trajectory, there would be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
AfriOceans Conservation Alliance founder Lesley Rochat said: “It is clear that the waste management system of South Africa is fragmented and that municipalities lack capacity to handle the magnitude of the problem – not enough is being done to avoid this escalating the environmental crises.”