S. African scientific institute warns of increasing plastic pollution

JOHANNESBURG, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- South African scientists have warned that plastic pollution is increasing at an alarming rate in the country and is likely to double the current levels by 2040 if left unchecked.

The top component of plastic pollution in South Africa is the open burning of waste, accounting for 56 percent of the total, followed by land pollution and aquatic pollution, accounting for 30 percent and 14 percent, respectively, according to a report released on Tuesday by South Africa's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

"South Africa, like most countries, is faced with growing plastic consumption and disposal. Addressing it will require a collaborative approach among all stakeholders," said Suzan Oelofse, the council's principal researcher.

The report calls for an improvement in waste collection services and management at landfills.

The important role of informal waste pickers highlights the need to integrate the informal sector into recycling and waste management, said Oelofse, adding that additional interventions to reduce the demand for plastics and improve waste separation at source and recycling are also required.

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