There is more to the plastic pollution crisis than just carrier bags

5 June was World Environment Day as well as Oceans Day. And the focus this year was on fighting plastic pollution.

Plastic is both a wonderful invention as well as a scourge on our planet.

READ: Plastic pollution highlighted: 'It's difficult to swim through all the bottles'

Over 300 million tons will be produced this year alone and most of will never be recycled and will remain in our land and the oceans forever.

Plastics are part of our everyday lifestyle, and their release into the environment has become yet another serious global environmental crisis impacting ecosystems and related services.

Eusebius McKaiser hosted a discussion about plastic pollution.

Minister of Environmental Affairs Edna Molewa said it is a massive task in trying to curb the spread of plastic pollution.

Everybody has a role to play and part of the act requires all of us to take action in South Africa. As a government and the sector itself, we have really been conducting studies.

Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs

She says that her department is doing research in the ocean space through their vessel SA Agulhas II Miriam Makeba, which came back alerting to the fact that it found plastic as far deep as Antartica and close to Marian Island and Prince Edward Island.

Joint MD of major plastics recycling company Extrupet, Chandru Wadhwani said what is in the forefront is the scale of the plastic problem.

In the last few months, the emotions that are permeating around plastics have reached a different level. A lot of it is coming from overseas, it's getting a lot of visibility in the news from everywhere.

Chandru Wadhwani, Joint MD of major plastics recycling company Extrupet

He said there is now an appetite for people to change their attitudes around plastic consumption.

The good news is that there are already alternatives to plastic bags many retailers offer cloth bags which interesting enough are made from discarded bottles, what a wonderful solution to a problem in terms of tackling one issue by fixing another one.

Chandru Wadhwani, Joint MD of major plastics recycling company Extrupet

Listen below to the full interview:


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