Curbing plastic pollution by making it more difficult to buy plastic bags

South Africa is actively finding ways to manage the environmental impact of plastic bags in the country.

This is the message of Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General for Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs.

In the past 12 years, government has instituted regulation and levies to manage the use of plastic bags.

There is a global trend of countries regulating or stopping the production of plastic bags, due to its environmental impact. A Ellen McArthur Foundation report published this year finds that there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than fish by the year 2050.

Speaking to #NightTalk's Gugs Mhlungu and Sizwe Dhlomo, Gordon says that government is continually finding ways to manage the use of plastic bags in the country. Gordon says that new plans and initiatives on plastic management will be released from July.

Listen to conversation below:

We're not there yet, but the recycling initiatives are quite significant

Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General for Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs

In order to change behaviour, we have to either regulate or incentivise. The regulation came in 2002 with the plastic bag levy. We have seen a massive reduction of plastic bags since the introduction of the levy, but the big issue is still littering

Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General for Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs

We want to make it more difficult for people to buy plastic bags, so we are looking at raising the levy

Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General for Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs

We are moving towards different plastics, which include biodegradable plastics

Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General for Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs
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