South Africa: We're Entangled in a Plastic Web That Sullies Our Minds


The plastics industry is different from fossil fuel industries in one major way -- its adeptness in hiding behind other industries.

At the end of my niece's baptism ceremony in Cape Town last month, the priest encouraged us all to do more than bless the little girl with a blissful future. He invited everyone to reflect on their plastic usage and take the first step to tackle plastic pollution by pledging "no" to plastic straws. A pious, solemn and private event meant to symbolise a new start, now also has to respond to the societal failure to hold the plastics industry to account for plastic pollution. This failure emanates from the narrative that shifts responsibility to address plastic pollution on to the consumers, letting the industry go scot-free.

Plastic is a versatile and cheap material. If it weren't, it would not have become such a vital part of our daily lives in just over half a century. But plastic pollution is now reaching a crisis level. It is estimated that one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our oceans every minute. The plastics industry would want us to believe that all that is needed to address plastic pollution is...

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