Johannesburg, 03 November 2020 — Responding to reports that plastic nurdles are washing up in the Southern Cape and on Cape Town beaches, Greenpeace Africa Plastic Campaign Lead Angelo Louw has said: 

“The fact that we have seen so many of these nurdle spills destroy our coastlines over the past few years should make it clear to the South African government that we need to ramp up our efforts as a country to eradicate single-use plastics, like many other African countries already have. 

“In 2017, over 40 tonnes of plastic nurdles were scattered across KwaZulu Natal and took close to three months of clean up efforts to curb the damage that had resulted from a container ship spill.

“Nurdles are a huge threat to marine life as they can be mistaken for food leading to blocked digestive systems and ultimately death of these animals. This latest environmental catastrophe in Southern Cape and Cape Town will not only impact the quality of life for its marine and wildlife, but also the citizens. The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries can no longer dance around the issue, a ban on single-use plastic is crucial in improving the quality of lives of ordinary South Africans.”

In September, Greenpeace Africa and 4,000 South Africans submitted individual submissions to the Department’s call of comment on new plastic bag regulations. They called for a complete ban on single-use plastic bags, as enforced in Kenya and Rwanda where the environment has substantially improved since plastic bags were outlawed.  


Contact details

Chris Vlavianos, Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer, 079837036, [email protected]

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