The leakage of plastic waste into the environment, including the marine environment, is an issue of global concern. In view of the symptom of growing consumption of single-use plastic combined with weak waste collection, recycling and disposal systems, sustainable solutions are required.
Research by Jamneck et al (2015) ranked South Africa 11th in terms of the mass of mismanaged plastic waste by countries globally in 2010.
Japan has committed to make funds available to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in order to combat the marine plastic litter issue in South Africa. This follows a bilateral meeting that was held between South African President Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa and the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr. Shinzo Abe on 29 June 2019, prior to the G20 Osaka Summit.
The collaborative public-private sector project will be announced at a high-level signing ceremony to be held in Pretoria on Friday, 26 July 2019. The project will be implemented by UNIDO and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). The project aims to explore the potential for transitioning to sustainable alternatives from conventional plastics, including opportunities for local manufacturing and economic development.
The implementation of this project will materialise the “MARINE Initiative”, which will contribute to the realization of the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision”.
The event will also see the launch of a book published by UNISA Press that explores the opportunities for biomass and organic waste valorisation in South Africa.
The event will be attended by the Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms. Nomalungelo Gina, the Ambassador of Japan, Mr. Norio Maruyama, UNIDO Representative, Mr. Khaled El Mekwad, Executive Director of Plastics SA, Mr. Anton Hanekom, CSIR Group Executive: Business Excellence and Integration, Ms. Khungeka Njobe, amongst others.
Members of the media will have the opportunity to engage with local and international experts on the topic and visit an exhibition of various products developed to eliminate plastic waste, including biodegradable plastic.