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ANNEX 1: COUNTRY DEEP DIVES
COUNTRY DEEP DIVE 1: IMPLEMENTATION OF A GLOBAL TREATY COULD HELP SOUTH AFRICA
MORE EFFICIENTLY TACKLE THE PLASTIC CRISIS AND THEREFORE AVOID THE COSTS ASSOCIATED
WITH THE PLASTIC LIFECYCLE, SUCH AS THE DETRIMENTAL IMPACT OF PLASTIC ON KEY ECONOMIC
INDUSTRIES AND THE THREAT POSED TO HUMAN HEALTH.
The minimum lifetime cost of the plastic produced in 2019 imposed on
South Africa is approximately US$60.72 billion (+/-US$17.11 billion),190
including damage to livelihoods and key economic industries, imposition of
clean-up costs on governments and threats to the population's health.
South Africa's waste management
system is struggling to deal
with the national plastic waste
generation, resulting in a
significant amount of plastic
leaking into the environment.
South Africa generates an annual
41 kg of plastic waste per capita
which is significantly higher than the
global average of 29 kg per annum.191
South Africa also has a weak and
strained waste management system
that is supported by a growing but
marginalised informal waste sector. In
2018, 35% of households did not receive
weekly waste collection and 29% of
household waste was not collected.192
As a result, plastic leakage is high,
with an estimated 79,000 tonnes of
plastic leaking into the environment
per year.193
As such, South Africa is the
11th worst global offender of leaking
land-based plastic into the ocean in
absolute terms.194
There is also evidence
of an increase in marine plastic debris
from land-based sources within South
Africa, suggesting this problem is likely
to grow.195
This plastic leakage threatens
livelihoods and key economic
industries and is costing the
government millions in clean-up
activities. Tourism is a key industry
for South Africa valued at R125 million
and contributing 2.9% to South Africa's
GDP.196
Tourists are attracted to South
Africa for its over 3,000 km of coastline,
which is threatened by plastic pollution.
For example, research demonstrates
that litter density of over 10 large items
WWF INTERNATIONAL 2021
per meter of beach would deter 40%
of foreign tourists and 60% of local
tourists from returning to Cape Town.197
Therefore, plastic pollution is likely to
negatively impact the population that
rely on tourism for their livelihood.
Plastic pollution also threatens South
Africa's fisheries sector which many
people rely on as a source of livelihood.
The commercial fisheries sector directly
employs 27,000 people198
and 29,233
people are considered true subsistence
fishers.199
Studies have shown that
ingestion of microplastics by fish has
the potential to decrease the fish stocks
and quality of catch.200
To reduce
these risks, local authorities spend a
significant portion of their budgets
cleaning plastic pollution and illegal
dumping. Depending on the size and
budget of the municipality, the cost of
cleaning ranges between 1% and 26%
of municipal operating expenditure for
waste management.201
There is also strong evidence
of risks posed by this plastic
pollution to human health. South
Africa relies on landfills as a waste
management solution which exposes
the human population to health risks.
Many of the landfills do not meet
compliance standards with an estimated
40% of plastic waste - 457,000 tonnes
- ending up in non-compliant landfills
in 2017.202
This, along with high rates
of uncollected waste, has made open
burning a common practice. Open
burning of plastic waste has been
identified as a source of potentially
significant risks to human health; the
chemical pollutants that are released as
a result have been linked to countless
health issues including the development
of respiratory health conditions.203
What has been done so far:
Since 2003, the South African
government has implemented
specific measures to tackle the
plastic crisis. In 2003, South Africa
enacted a plastic-bag legislation which
included imposing a plastic bag levy
and banning the use of thin-film plastic
under 30 microns. This regulation
was amended in 2021 and stipulated
that all plastic bags (including those
imported) must contain at least 50%
recycled material beginning in 2023.
This will gradually increase to plastic
bags being manufactured from 75%
recycled material from January 2025
to being entirely made from " postconsumer
recyclates " in January
2027.204
Also in 2021, the government
enacted a mandatory EPR scheme
on all packaging including plastic
packaging which requires that obligated
companies (definition in the regulations
state that these are the packaging
manufacturers, brand owners,
importers, licensee agents and retailers)
are financially and/or operationally
responsible for the end-of-life activities
of the packaging they place on the
market.205
In 2020, stakeholders across the
plastic packaging value chain,
including the government,
collectively launched the SA

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https://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2020
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http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2013
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/dalbergreport2013-de
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/dalbergreport2013-fr
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/dalbergreport2013
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwf_france/rapport_dactivite_2011-2012
http://europe.nxtbook.com/nxteu/wwfintl/annualreview2012
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