Picture: Ryan Pyle/Getty Images
Picture: Ryan Pyle/Getty Images

Last week marked the deadline for public comments on amendments to the plastic carrier bags and plastic flat bags regulations under the Environment Conservation Act. While the amendment is a commendable move, to some extent it lacks a common-sense approach.

If history can be factored in, consider the significant role of the deposit system: a customer was charged a refundable deposit for packaging material (in this instance, soft-drink bottles). A similar approach can be applied to the plastic scourge, incentivising consumers to play a critical role in fostering the circular economy.

The plastic bag levy should not be regarded as a source of revenue to decrease the fiscal deficit; it ought to be used for what it was intended for.

A refundable deposit system for all packaging materials can help solve the riddle of environmental pollution. We do not have liberty to waste any time in creating a clean, litter-free, healthy and safe environment. Doing that requires common sense, willingness, a simple plan and ruthless execution.

Sithembiso Malusi Mahlaba

The FM welcomes concise letters from readers. They can be sent to fmmail@fm.co.za

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