To: Cyril Ramaphosa (ANC), Mmusi Maimane (DA), Julius Malema (EFF), Mangosuthu Buthelezi (IFP)
RSA: Ban Single-Use Plastics
From: The Cape Town Greenpeace Volunteers, African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), South African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), Fossil Free South Africa, Extinction Rebellion, Wild Rescue, Transparenci, Easy Eco, Green Anglicans, Shop Zero, the Durban Greenpeace Volunteers, Ocean Pledge and the thousands of concerned citizens who have added their signatures.
We call on your respective political parties to commit in your election manifestoes to ban by 1 January 2020 the following:
Single-use (1) plastic carrier bags, small fruit and vegetable bags, plastic straws, stirrers, cutlery and ear buds.
We want the next South African administration to join growing worldwide action by banning replaceable or unnecessary plastic products.
Why is this important?
The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic (2) enters our oceans every minute and by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish (3). More than one million bags are used every minute worldwide – and around half are used just once before being thrown away. Every plastic bag is used for only 15 minutes on average – but it can take up to 500 years to decompose (4).
Plastic is killing marine animals and seabirds (5), destroying the marine environment as well as people’s livelihoods, infiltrating the human food chain and causing cancers and birth defects. Scientists have found plastic in tap water and even in salt and beer. (6)
Currently South Africa ranks as one of the worst offenders in mismanaging its plastic waste. (7) South Africans use 8 billion plastic shopping bags per year – and a plastic carrier bag levy introduced in 2003 has failed to have a meaningful impact. (8)
By contrast, 28 African countries (9) such as Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco and Cameroon have banned the use, manufacture, importation and distribution of disposable plastic bags.
Plastic debris not only results in high cleaning-up costs but also brings huge losses for the tourism, fisheries and shipping industries. It threatens our health, constitutional rights, water resources and climate.
Please sign our petition today to help turn SA from a laggard in preventing plastic pollution into a world leader in producing and using sustainable alternatives.
This petition will be delivered to the top four political parties (10) currently campaigning ahead of the upcoming national election.
The Cape Town Greenpeace Volunteers, African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), South African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), Fossil Free South Africa, Extinction Rebellion, Wild Rescue, Transparenci, Easy Eco, Green Anglicans, Shop Zero, the Durban Greenpeace Volunteers, Ocean Pledge and the thousands of concerned citizens who have added their signatures.
PS This petition builds on an earlier one with a similar aim, which has been signed by more than 18,000 supporters: http://bit.ly/2ytHbN5
1 Single-use or disposable plastics are commonly used for packaging and include items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.
6 A study found that 83% of tap water worldwide is contaminated with plastic micro-fibres. Another discovered that some 73% out of 233 deep water fish from the Northwest Atlantic Ocean had ingested plastic particles.
7 South Africa is currently ranked 11th in the world for mismanaged plastic waste. https://www.iswa.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Calendar_2011_03_AMERICANA/Science-2015-Jambeck-768-71__2_.pdf
9 Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phase-out_of_lightweight_plastic_bags
10 African National Congress, Democratic Alliance, Economic Freedom Fighters and Inkatha Freedom Party currently hold 10 seats or more in the National Assembly.
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