Plastic packaging is a huge contributor to marine litter. Now the plastics industry has created a Global Declaration for Solutions to Marine Litter.
Packaging SA is in full support of the drive to prevent marine litter and they are the latest signatory to the Declaration.
“We recognise that plastic packaging is a major contributor to marine litter and consequently feel that it is important that we play our part in supporting every initiative to sort out this worrying global problem”, says Charles Muller, Executive Director of Packaging SA.
Douw Steyn, Director Sustainability at Plastics|SA and Chairman of Outreach and Stakeholder Engagement on the Global Action Team on Marine Debris (GAT) welcomed Packaging SA as the second signatory from the packaging industry, the first being PACIA (National Packaging Covenant Industry Association – Australia).
“The objective is to encourage country packaging associations, brand owners, retailers, environmental NGO`s and like-minded organisations to sign the Declaration and together, with the global plastics industry, to tackle plastics in the marine environment,” Steyn says.
5 year plan includes specific marine debris actions
In line with the 5 year plan of the Global Action Team on Marine Debris (GAT), the Sustainability Council of Plastics|SA has set itself objectives that include specific marine debris actions. Earlier this year, they hosted the second African Marine Debris Summit in Cape Town which led to the formation of a South African Network on Marine Debris, with the long-term goal of establishing an African network that ties into the global management of marine debris.
This network includes industry, brand owners, environmental organisations, NGOs, retailers and other stakeholders who will work together towards finding solutions to the marine litter problem in Southern Africa specifically.
“The GAT have made six public commitments that are aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions to address marine litter which are education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling and recover and plastic pellet containment,” Steyn explains.
Plastics|SA signed the Declaration in 2011 and to date more than 65 associations in 35 countries have signed the plastics industry’s global declaration, through which 185 projects have been planned, initiated, or completed since its launch in March 2011. These associations constantly report on their progress.
Over 185 projects currently carried out
Over 185 projects are currently being carried out by or together with plastics industry representatives from Asia, the Middle East, Australia, the Americas, Europe, Africa and China as knowledge is transferred from one country to another. Worldwide issues need to be addressed globally with solutions being implemented locally.
Steve Russell, Vice President of Plastics for the American Chemistry Council, welcomed and commended Packaging SA for joining global efforts to address marine debris. He said that marine debris is a complex, global problem, and Packaging SA`s participation is a strong signal that the packaging industry and its stakeholders are also committed to doing their part in providing solutions.