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Home » Featured » South Africa and Japan join arms to combat pollution

South Africa and Japan join arms to combat pollution

The Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina has ushered in the R25 million Japan-South Africa collaboration project that is solely purposed at alleviating plastic pollution.

What is the project?

The project which was launched in Pretoria and will be running for three years. The purpose of this project is to support the South African plastic industry to transition from the use of plastics to move to environmentally sustainable alternative materials.

“In order to maximise the environmental benefits from biodegradable plastics, further research and development will be necessary to optimise the production by increasing the efficiencies of various unit processes involved such as the separation processes and the integration process.”

The Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina

The project was launched on Friday; 26 July 2019, and is funded by the Japanese government and will be implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in partnership with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

“I am delighted to take part in this ground-breaking ceremony between Japan and South Africa in an attempt to reduce marine plastics pollution through renewable means.

The Department of Trade and Industry welcomes the support by the Japanese government and the partnership between UNIDO and CSIR, since biodegradable plastics locally are just being introduced.”

The Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina

KZN floods Durban plastic pollution
Plastic pollution in Durban after the floods in KZN, 11 March 2019 / Supplied by Durban Green Corridor, photo: Sifiso Mngoma

The pollution problem

The key stakeholders, as well as the DTI, will manage the pertinent issue of waste by embracing the “circular economy phenomenon premised on zero waste to landfill and separation at source”.

“Locally we are seeing signs of improvement in the recycling space. More than 334 780 tons of material is recycled into raw material that is used in the manufacture of refuse bags, plastic bags, milk cartons and even waterproof sleeping bags for the homeless.”

The Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina

Going green is the global direction

The Deputy Minister further elaborated that worldwide, there is a push towards the development of plastics from biomaterials or renewable sources.

“The impact of this work will play an important role in increasing local technical skills and will eventually lead to local job creation in manufacturing.”

The Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina

There is a need to re-evaluate the growing recognition to transition towards a global green economy that results in lessened environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Which further leads to better human wellbeing and social equity.

“This places the onus on government to make sound sustainable development decisions that will lead to prolonged economic transformation.”

  • The Department of Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Nomalungelo Gina
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