The banning of single-use plastic bags in South Africa

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Plastic bags are the leading cause of death in marine life, not only is it unpleasant to look at on the streets its harmful to our environment.

Plastic pollution in the ocean has gotten so bad that trace amounts of microplastic has been found in aquatic life. Fish, fish that we eat, essentially we are ingesting our own litter.

It is well-known that plastic bags, along with other plastic products, cause an unnecessary amount of damage to the environment. Such as the suffocation of many terrestrial and aquatic animals, as well as the fact that the modern, widely used plastic bags can take 10-100 years to decompose.

The use of plastic bags in South Africa has been an issue that has been tried to be solved multiple times however, it has failed.

This petition aims to bring light to the damage that plastic bags inflict upon the environment.

Everyone has seen the photos, and heard the stories about the damage plastic causes to our planet, and what will inevitably happen if we don't change our products that we throw into the Earth. But the fact is just seeing it isn't enough anymore, a change needs to be made.

There is no reason that this problem deserves to be overlooked and brushed off by businesses and governments. Many civilians have put effort into changing their ways of living, which makes a small difference, but a much larger difference would be made if the people initially allowing this to happen from the get-go stopped allowing it.

There have been many accounts from people stating that they were highly surprised as to how quickly industries and people can adapt to the banning of single use plastic. This can be shown in South Africa through Woolworths plan to completely phase out the sale of single use plastic bags at their tills by 2020. We need more industries to put in an effort like this. 

Another effort in the discouraging of plastic bags is that of a plastic levy introduction in 2004 by the government, this levy forced retailers to charge for the plastic bags sold at their tills, which before the levy, were completely free. This levy aimed to discourage customers from buying the plastic bags and instead opting for the more expensive, but more eco-friendly material bags. At the end of last year the levy sat at 12c, however retailers still charge 50c for a bag. Meaning that they profit off of these bags, this is a downside as it encouraged organizations to sell more of these. Not only are the retailers overcharging on a product by marking it up largely to make a profit, but by doing so they are also causing more harm to the environment. It can be shown that a plastic levy isn't enough effort against the bags. That's why awareness needs to be created on this issue. 

We should do what we can whilst we can still do something, let's make this change for the betterment of the environment around us.