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News: Have your say on plastic bag regulations

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries has invited members of the public to comment on the intention to amend the Environment Conservation Act Plastic Carrier Bags and Plastic Flat Bags Regulations.

“Plastic waste has not only become a challenge in diverting it form going to landfill sites, but has grown to be one of the most problematic waste streams, which continues to harm the environment.

“Plastic waste is mostly common in illegal dumps, landfill sites and rivers, and ultimately ends up in oceans, causing harm to marine life,” said Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy.

The intention to amend the regulations was published in the Government Gazette 43601 (Notice no. 869) on 7 August 2020.

As a result, the department is developing a Plastics Master Plan with targets, timeframes, actions and specific goals to ensure that actions discussed at the Colloquium are implemented and that everyone responsible for the work is held accountable.

Amendments to Regulations

 Among the most important amendments to the Regulations is the prohibition of the manufacture, trade and distribution of domestically produced and imported plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags that do not meet outlined specifications for use within South Africa.

The proposed amendments focus on ‘post-consumer recyclate’ material generated by households or by commercial, industrial and institutional facilities in their role as end-users of the product.

The amendments also state that plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags must be made from a minimum of 50% post-consumer recyclate from 1 January 2023, 75% of recycled materials from 2025 and must comprise 100% post-consumer recyclate from 2027.

Fines

  • In terms of the amendment, any person who contravenes the regulations could face a fine not exceeding R5 million or five years imprisonment.
  • In the case of a second or subsequent conviction, the person could be imprisoned for up to 10 years or face a R10 million fine.

Public invited to submit comments

Members of the public are invited to submit their comments by 7 September 2020.

Written representations or objections to the proposed amendments can be sent to the following addresses:

By post to: The Director-General:

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Attention: Ms Pamela Nxumalo

Private Bag X447

Pretoria

By hand can be delivered at: (Attention: Ms Pamela Nxumalo)

Environment House, 473 Steve Biko Road,

Arcadia,

0083

Comments can be emailed to: pnxumalo@environment.gov.za

Please note that anyone entering the department’s building will be subjected to COVID-19 procedures.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering comments by hand at the department is being discouraged.

To view the Gazette, click on the link below.

https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/gazetted_notices/nema_plasticbagregulationsamendment_43601gon869.pdf

 

Source: sanews

Photo Credit: Unsplash


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