…By Roland Peterson for TDPel Media.
Dave Bryant, the Shadow Minister of Environment, Forestry, and Fisheries for the Democratic Alliance (DA), expressed grave concern about the escalating plastic pollution crisis in South Africa, particularly in areas under the control of the African National Congress (ANC) government.
According to Bryant, plastic pollution has reached epidemic proportions, and the situation is deteriorating in ANC-led regions.
In these areas, local residents and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are often left to address the issue, struggling without support from the ANC-led governments.
Bryant emphasized that the impact of plastic pollution on wildlife, especially seabirds and fish, is devastating.
Moreover, the ingestion of plastic products poses risks to human health when affected seafood is consumed.
He highlighted the significant consequences faced by local communities and businesses, with the poorest individuals suffering the most severe repercussions.
The DA MP criticized ANC-run provinces and municipalities for their lack of concrete plans to combat the extensive plastic pollution problem.
He also pointed out the growing scarcity of landfill space and the breakdown of recycling programs in these areas.
In contrast, other African countries like Kenya have successfully implemented complete bans on certain types of plastic waste, while South Africa has only managed to enforce a tax on plastic bags.
Bryant further criticized the mishandling of the plastic bag fund, which was found to have been misappropriated and stolen by corrupt officials.
Bryant stressed that recycling is vital in the fight against plastic waste.
However, he emphasized that the most effective approach to reducing plastic consumption is to actively discourage the use of single-use plastics whenever possible.
The DA governments, particularly in the Western Cape, have been praised for their forward-thinking initiatives.
They work through provincial and local administrations to minimize waste going to landfills and implement award-winning awareness programs to empower residents and combat littering and plastic dumping.
Bryant urged ANC-led municipalities to learn from these progressive strategies and adopt similar measures to address the plastic pollution crisis effectively.
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