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Sasol releases KZN Marine Waste South Coast Baseline Assessment Study

Date: 
09 June 2020

Johannesburg, South Africa – Sasol has released a Baseline Study it commissioned to understand the challenges around waste pollution affecting the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) South Coast, specifically targeting Amanzimtoti and Umbogintwini rivers. 

The Umbogintwini and Amanzimtoti rivers are the two main rivers that flow directly into the Indian Ocean south of the City of Durban.  Both rivers are 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, Sasol was one of the founding members of KZN Marine South Coast Waste Network established in in May 2019 and commissioned the baseline assessment. Conducted by the South African Healthcare Foundation (SAHF), the assessment was initiated to ascertain the level and nature of the pollution problem and to inform potential sustainable interventions.  

The now released Baseline Assessment Report contains details of the study that was conducted to explore various project area parameters, ascertain the root cause of plastic pollution in the area, identify potential role players, properly state the main problems and if possible, recommend solution-based priority actions.  The baseline study 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. 

Sasol’s response to the plastic waste challenge is global. Internationally Sasol a member of the international Alliance to End Plastic Waste which is a CEO led, cross-sector not-for-profit organisation with a clear mission to develop, accelerate and deploy solutions, catalyse public and private investment and engage communities to help end plastic waste in the environment. The AEPW’s four-part strategy is inclusive of Infrastructure, Innovation, Education and Clean Up’s.  

In South Africa, Sasol is a long-standing member of Plastics South Africa (Plastics|SA), which represents all sectors of the South African Plastics Industry including polymer producers and importers, converters, machine suppliers, fabricators and recyclers.  Sasol also leads the infrastructure development committee of the domestic Initiative to End Plastic Waste which is driven by Plastics|SA and the South African Consumer Goods Council.  Through its participation on domestic and international forums Sasol aims to contribute to the elimination of plastics waste leakage into the environment and will focus its efforts in South Africa in close cooperation with government, relevant industry participants and associations. 

According to Kruben Pillay, Senior Manager, Global Plastics Sustainability at Sasol, 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.

Said Pillay: “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.” 

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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