​ KZN South Coast marine waste study released

24 June 2020 | Web Article Number: ME202019487

Chemical & Allied Industries
Environmental Management & Control
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SASOL has released a baseline study it commissioned to understand the challenges around waste pollution affecting the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast, specifically targeting the Amanzimtoti and Umbogintwini rivers.

These are the two main rivers that flow directly into the Indian Ocean south of Durban. Both are considered critical to the local economy and tourism industry.

Several informal settlements exist next to the rivers and due to inadequate waste management, pollution is carried downstream, introducing waste not only beaches but also into the Indian Ocean. Although the waste is generic, plastic waste has become one of the more visible challenges in the area.

As part of Sasol’s commitment to combating plastic waste pollution, the company was one of the founding members of KZN Marine South Coast Waste Network established in in May 2019 and commissioned the baseline assessment, which was conducted by the South African Healthcare Foundation (SAHF).

The now released Baseline Assessment Report contains details of the study which focused on four broad areas which were considered as the main contributors to the plastic waste pollution cycle within the study area:

  • Current state and effectiveness of waste management in the communities
  • Environmental Education/Awareness within schools and amongst communities
  • State of Clean-ups and the general public’s contribution to them.
  • Potential for end of pipe Solutions such as litter booms and traps in various locations along rivers.

Local stakeholders were included to participate in the baseline study and assisted by interacting with local communities to extract the required information. This baseline team consisted of the SAHF, the eThekwini Municipality, Sapphire Coast Tourism, MMKH Recycling (a local recycler), The Clean Surf Project, Social Waste Management SA (a local Buy back centre) and the Toti Conservancy Forum.

According to Thabiet Booley, Senior Vice President of Sasol’s Base Chemicals business, plastic waste in the environment is unacceptable and producers and other parties (from resin producers to consumers and governments) in the value chain all have a role to play in the solution space. Sasol is South Africa’s leading polymer producer.

“Plastics is one of the world’s greatest innovations and demand is expected to grow due to societal benefits combined with population, urbanisation and middle-class growth. Only through a collaborative and inclusive approach will we be successful in dealing with the waste issue,” said Booley.

Kruben Pillay, Senior Manager, Global Plastics Sustainability at Sasol, said the elimination of plastics waste leakage into the environment combined with the successful implementation of a circular plastics economy in South Africa will create opportunities for economic growth for a wide range of stakeholders including individuals, communities as well as the downstream plastics and waste management industries.

“The KZN Baseline Assessment study was initiated after Sasol became a founding member of the KZN Marine Waste Network South Coast, which consists of a number of stakeholders who are concerned about marine waste pollution on the KZN South Coast,” Pillay said.

Members include representatives from Polyco, Coca Cola, eThekwini Beach Management, Sapphire Coast Tourism, The SA Health Foundation, the Clean Surf Project, Plastics|SA, Petco, Durban Solid Waste (DSW) and the Polystyrene Association of South Africa.

Following internal release of the Sasol sponsored Baseline Study, the KZN Marine Waste Network South Coast team has named the Project Inkwazi Isu (African Fish Eagle) and commenced hosting solutions workshops towards implementing programmes that will eliminate plastic waste pollution from the Umbogintwini and Amanzimtoti rivers.

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