The South African plastics industry will team up with various industry partners to celebrate World Oceans Day on 8 June.
Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director at Plastics SA stresses that every person has a responsibility to keep our oceans clean.
“Research has shown that 85 % of the litter found in oceans is from land based sources. Our activities this week and throughout the month of June are aimed at informing the public of the positive impact that responsible waste management can have on the world’s oceans and reminding them that plastics should be properly discarded and recycled after use, not end up in the oceans or the environment,” he says.
Lagoon clean up and launch of KZN Marine Waste Network
Plastics SA will collaborate with the Clean Surf Project (CSP), the Shoprite Group, Toti Beach Management and Sapphire Coast Tourism to clean up Amanzimtoti Lagoon on Saturday, 8 June. Plastics SA, together with industry partners PETCO, POLYCO, SAVA, the Polystyrene Association, Sasol and Verigreen will be providing plastic refuse bags and gloves to collect and remove the litter from the area. We are encouraging community members, schools and businesses in the area to join us between 09:00 and 12:00 to lend a hand.
“During this year’s event, we will also be launching the KZN Marine Waste Network – South Coast that will focus on the Amanzimtoti and Umbogintwini River Catchment area. “We will focus our efforts on waste management and recycling, education and awareness programmes, litter booms and clean-up campaigns in these areas,” says Chairman Denzil van der Westhuizen, Chairman of the KZN Marine Waste Network – South Coast.
Caroline Reid Award for Clean-Up Champion of the Year launched
Plastics SA has also launched a new, annual award, which aims to recognise and reward excellence in South Africa by an individual in the field of marine and coastal clean-ups, called the Caroline Reid Award for Clean-Up Champion of the Year.
“Caroline Reid was an ocean conservation warrior who sadly passed away in 2018 after a tragic accident. The entire South African conservation community lost a dynamic champion who coordinated hundreds of beach and diving clean-ups and who was central in the work done with the loss of the plastic pellets (nurdles) in the Durban harbour in 2017 and helped to increase the awareness of plastics pollution on the KwaZulu-Natal Coastline,” Steyn explains.
“In honour of this wonderful person and the many other individuals who altruistically give up their time to make our marine and coastal areas cleaner, safer environments, we will be awarding a R10 000 cash prize, a floating trophy and exposure in local and international media as role models and winners of the Caroline Reid Award for the Clean-up Champion of the Year,” he says.
Download the entry form from the Plastics SA website. The closing date is Friday, 1 November 2019. No late submissions will be accepted and the winner will be announced in Cape Town on 23 January 2020 during the National Conference of the Marine and Coastal Educators Network.
Uniting efforts to find sustainable solutions
“The plastics industry globally and locally is committed to finding solutions to end plastic pollution found in our oceans, rivers and other water sources. We have made impressive strides towards reaching this goal with the forming of the South African Initiative to End Plastic Pollution in the Environment earlier this year. Whilst our first priority is tackling the problematic “single use plastics” by developing solutions and applications that will find sustainable alternatives, we are also focusing our efforts on increasing plastic recycling rates and making more products available that contain a percentage of recycled plastics.
“The Shoprite Group has a zero waste-to-landfill approach and is committed to reducing waste across its operations, including changing consumer behaviour. Additionally, we are regularly involved in community clean-ups at which we highlight the value of recyclable waste. This Plastics SA event is yet another opportunity to show that we care for the communities we serve by protecting the environment,” says Lunga Schoeman, CSI spokesperson for the Shoprite Group.
Says Kruben Pillay, Senior Manager, Plastics Sustainability at Sasol: “We are delighted to partner with Plastics SA during World Ocean Day to clean up Amanzimtoti Lagoon and to launch the KZN Marine Waste Network – South Coast. Sasol agrees that plastic waste in the environment is unacceptable and believes that all participants in the plastics value chain have a role to play in finding sustainable solutions. Sasol is committed to making a difference around plastic waste leakage and will be an active participant in the South Coast River Catchment Project. The project touches on the key elements required to successfully mitigate waste leakage – including infrastructure development, innovation, education, clean-up campaigns and social investment.”
This is a global problem and needs a global solution, the buy-in and support of industry, governments and the public alike. There is no time to waste and we need to treat every day as a World Oceans Day. Together we can turn the tide on plastics in the oceans!” Steyn concludes.