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Prevent plastic from polluting our oceans

The equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic enters our oceans every minute and by 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish.

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.

Plastic is killing marine animals and seabirds, 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.

Currently South Africa ranks as one of the worst offenders in mismanaging its plastic waste.

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.

By contrast, 28 African countries such as Kenya, Rwanda, Morocco and Cameroon have banned the use, manufacture, importation and distribution of disposable plastic bags.

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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.

The Coastal Ghost initiative will be doing a beach cleanup on Monday 8th April in Jeffreys Bay.

It would be great if those who care about the micro plastics in the sea & on the beaches were to roll up and support,” said local organiser Patricia Wright.

“We will meet at the lifeguard tower at Main Beach at 8 am.

We will be focusing on the small stuff – the straws, stompies, as well as the more obvious litter,” added Wright.

Photo: Joey Nel

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