This past week has been a busy one for Plastics SA as it used Sustainability Week, World Environment Day and World Oceans Day to drive home efforts to keep plastic pollution out of the environment.

Douw Steyn, Sustainability Director at Plastics SA, says being actively involved in this past week’s numerous environmental activities gave the organisation the ideal opportunity to physically demonstrate its commitment to finding sustainable solutions that will reduce the amount of plastics litter that ends up in the environment.

“To achieve this, we have launched numerous projects in six key areas, namely education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment,” he explains.

Beating plastic pollution  

Championing the cause at Sustainability Week, which took place from 5-7 June, Plastics SA hosted a “Beat Plastic Pollution” Workshop on the opening day of the Week, which attracted much local and international attention.

“The issue of tackling plastics polluting the environment is at the top of the global agenda of the packaging industry, governments and environmentalists around the world,” Steyn highlights.

“There is a surging momentum in global efforts to address this issue, and Plastics SA is adding its voice to the calls for the implementation of proper waste management systems and responsible human behaviour in order to see less plastics ending up in the environment and our oceans,” he adds.

Cleaning up KZN beaches  

In honour of World Oceans Day Plastics SA teamed up with SAGE Foundation and the KZN Marine Waste Network in Durban to host a cleanup at the Beachwood Mangroves in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.  More than 120 people volunteered their time and effort to pick up litter in the mangroves situated at the mouth of the Umgeni River in Durban North.

In a further effort to fight ocean pollution, Plastics SA also partnered with Umhlanga Urban Improvement Precinct, DPAPP, Durban Green Corridor, Umhlanga UIP, Upper Umhlanga Security Trust, KZN Recycling Forum, USE–IT, Tetrapak and DPI Plastics to install a litter boom at the Umhlanga lagoon.

The boom was designed to trap litter and prevent it from entering the ocean and was launched in celebration of World Oceans Day on Friday.

“Our aim is to reduce the amount of litter that washes into the sea from the Ohlanga river. The litter boom floats on the surface of the water and acts as a trap that prevents all the floating litter from washing down into the estuary and into the sea. It then allows for that litter to be collected at one point,” Steyn explains.