Plastic ban wrappers SPAR
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The IPSOS Global survey shows that 85% of people want a ban on single-use plastics; South Africa took part in the survey and this is how we feel:

 

South Africa (12 April 2024) – An average of 85% of people polled worldwide, including in South Africa, believe a soon-to-be concluded global plastic pollution treaty should ban single-use plastics that now account for more than 70% of ocean plastic pollution, according to an Ipsos survey.

The survey polled more than 24,000 people in 32 countries and was commissioned by WWF and the Plastic Free Foundation. A Greenpeace International study, also released this week, shows similarly overwhelming support for ending single-use plastics.

These results come ahead of the fourth and penultimate plastic pollution treaty negotiations, taking place in Ottawa, Canada from 23 to 29 April.

South African participants in the survey were aligned with the global averages when looking at the overall importance of the issue and had significantly stronger feelings when considering the implementation of specific bans (see more details below).

They were also significantly more likely than the global average to agree with introducing consequences and accountability for governments and plastic producers and more likely to support ensuring all participating countries have access to funding, technology and other resources to comply with the rules.

Global findings

With more than 430 million tonnes of virgin plastic produced each year – 60% of which are single-use – and only 9% of that plastic currently recycled worldwide, a global ban on single-use plastics, deemed unnecessary, avoidable, and harmful, is one of several in a suite of urgent measures the public wants to see in the treaty.

Other highly favoured bans include those on harmful chemicals used in plastic (which 90% supported) and plastic products that cannot be easily and safely recycled in the countries where they are used (87%).

In addition, the results reveal a widespread understanding that bans alone are not enough to end the plastic pollution crisis. Citizens polled worldwide also strongly support redesigning the current plastics system to ensure remaining plastics can be safely reused and recycled. In particular, measures such as mandating manufacturers invest in and provide reuse and refill systems polled 87% support while 72% support ensuring all countries have access to funding, technology and resources to enable a just transition.

These measures provide a clear pathway for reducing global plastic production, an outcome 87% of those polled worldwide in this study, as well as 82% of people polled in Greenpeace International’s study, would like to see the global plastic pollution treaty achieved.

With very limited time left for negotiators to conclude a meaningful agreement (treaty negotiations are expected to close by the end of this year), countries must take immediate action to move the process forward decisively.

“Few ordinary citizens are involved in the negotiations for a global plastic pollution treaty despite living on the frontlines of the crisis. Yet the survey shows citizens have a high level of awareness, concern and engagement on what is needed to end plastic pollution and are rejecting the toxic and unjust plastics ecosystem that’s been imposed on them through lax laws and profit-oriented businesses,” said Eirik Lindebjerg, Global Plastics Lead, WWF International.

Results of the survey, which is Ipsos’s third round of public opinion polling on international action to address plastic pollution, reinforce and build upon the results of previous rounds of polling, in particular, they paint a consistent and compelling picture of citizens across the world united and unwavering in wanting their governments to abide by rules that are binding and applicable to all parties signed to the global plastic pollution treaty.

The survey results stand in sharp contrast to the continued efforts of low-ambition demands from a group of oil-producing countries bent on weakening and shifting the goalposts of the UNEA 5 mandate, agreed in March 2022 by 175 countries, to create the world’s first international and legally binding treaty aimed at ending plastic pollution.

During the final hours of the last negotiating session in Nairobi in November 2023, these countries ground negotiations to a halt by demanding the treaty put in place voluntary rules that focus only on waste management rather than the full life cycle of plastic.

South African survey results in brief

1. Ban or phase out chemicals and products:

  • Nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require global plastic production to be reduced (90%). Nearly four in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (33%).
  • More than nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require a ban on chemicals used in plastic that are hazardous to human health, wildlife and the environment (92%). More than four in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (41%).
  • Nearly nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require a ban on unnecessary single-use plastic products most likely to become plastic pollution (88%). Nearly four in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (36%).

2. Increasing safe circulation:

  • Nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require a ban on types of plastic that cannot be easily recycled in practice (90%).
  • Nearly four in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (36%).
  • Nearly nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require transparent labelling on plastic products (91%). More than one in 3 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (36%).
  • More than nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require manufacturers and retailers to provide reuse and refill systems (92%).
  • Nearly four in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (38%).

3. Ensuring effective action can be financed:

  • Nearly nine in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s important that global rules require all plastic manufacturers to pay fees that cover the costs of reuse, recycling and safe management of plastic waste (85%).
  • Nearly three in 10 South African survey participants believe it’s essential (28%).
  • More than eight in 10 South African survey participants agree that a global treaty should include rules that ensure all participating countries have access to funding, technology and other resources to comply with the rules (82%).

Sources: WWF SA
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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