Johannesburg,26 January 2018. Representatives from the Global Plastics Alliance (GPA) met in Penang, Malaysia from 13-15 December2017as guests of the Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers with a view to accelerating and advancingThe Declaration of the Global Plastics Associations for Solutions on Marine Litter, also known as the “Joint Declaration.”
According to Douw Steyn, Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Director, more than 19 countries from across four continents are currently participating in this joint initiative, including Canada, India, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Vietnam, Colombia, the United States and Europe.
“Marine litter is a complex problem that requires creative thinking and a holistic approach. There is no single solution and it is therefore important to hear the many different perspectives on the issues facing the industry. It was hugely encouraging to see so many plastic manufacturers from across the globe come together with the objective of finding ways to keep used plastic out of the environment and to further improve the sustainability of these energy and resource efficient materials,” Steyn said.
One of the highlights of the meeting, was updating the Global Declaration that was launched for the first time in March 2011 at the 5th International Marine Debris Conference. At the end of the event, signatories of the Declaration have grown to 70 plastics associations from regions across the globe who recognize and acknowledge the important role they have to play in fighting marine litter. Africa’s voice in these matters is represented by Plastics|SA, Packaging SA and Ghana who also recently became a signatory.
“Plastics|SA is proud to be one of the first signatories and is actively supporting projects in six key areas aimed at contributing to sustainable solutions, namely education, research, public policy, sharing best practices, plastics recycling/recovery, and plastic pellet containment,” Steyn said. “We have launched various successful clean-up and recycle initiatives, such as our annual International Coastal Clean-Ups, Operation Clean Sweep,sponsoring litter booms and initiatives such as the Aqua Amazing schools education programme as part of our commitment to reducing plastics litter in the environment”.
Commenting on the success of the latest GPA meeting, Callum Chen, Secretary-General, Asia Plastics Forum said: “The continued growth of the Global Plastics Alliance proves that this industry is committed to providing solutions to ensuring a more sustainable future. As a united group we are leading the deployment of hundreds of marine litter prevention programs in all regions of the globe. Whilst it is clear that there is much to do, it is equally obvious that our combined efforts are building momentum”.