World oceans are drowning in plastic waste, the shipping industry is not the culprit: SAMSA

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Pretoria: 28 July 2017

The world’s oceans may be drowning fast in a mess of global plastic waste – estimated currently at some 275 million metric tons and in its wake, threatening all life on earth – but the shipping industry on which close on 90% of world trade depends, is not the culprit. Well, not quite.

That is because global shipping practices at sea are highly guarded through a number of international regulations, otherwise known as conventions, and closely monitored by member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) including South Africa, the latter through the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA).

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Captain Ravi Naicker, South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) Centre for Sea Watch and Rescue national operations manager. Cape Town

This was revealed by SAMSA’s Centre for Sea Watch and Response (CSWR) during a mini conference hosted jointly by the SAMSA, United States Consulate, the International Ocean Institute and the V&A Waterfront held at the Two Oceans Acquarium at Cape Town’s Waterfront recently.

The mini conference occurred within a week of the wrap up of an even bigger oceans plastic waste gathering, the Africa Marine Waste Conference, held over five days in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape in early July, attended by about 250 delegates including a high contingent of scientists from Africa, the US, and Asia Pacific countries.

At the Cape Town event, keynote speakers included Dr Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Georgia, United States, and director of the Center for Circular Materials Management at New Materials Institute; John Duncan of the World Wildlife Fund and Dr Anthony Ribbink, CE of Sustainable Seas Trust.

SAMSACSWR national operations manager, Captain Ravi Naicker, explained that global shipping involving millions of trade cargo vessels at sea daily – and therefore the most potential culprits for massive plastic and related waste pollution of the oceans – were actually not the culprits.

The revelation came against the backdrop of statistics showing that South Africa ranked No.11 in the world for waste management production and that the country alone was responsible for 12% of global plastic waste and about 2% of total mismanaged plastic waste, leading to between 0.9-0.25 megatons of it ending as marine plastic waste annually.

img_3102-722017With an estimated population of some 12.9-million people occupying the coastal line of South Africa, this amounted to about two kilograms of plastic waste per person per annum.

Globally, the world’s 192 countries situated along oceans and seas across the globe were said to generate as much as 2.5-billion metric tons of solid waste, of which 275-million metric tons was plastic waste and an estimated 8-million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste ended up in the seas in 2010, according to statistics by Dr Jenna Jambeck.

Just over 6-million metric tons of the global (coastal countries) mismanaged plastic waste dumped at seas was currently still floating freely at the surface of global oceans waters, in the process, placing all life both in the oceans as well as on land, at extremely high risk.

According to Dr Jambeck, one of the contributing factors to widespread distribution of plastic waste is that: “In use – (plastic) items that are designed to last forever are only used a short period of time. 40% of plastic production is for packaging – and there are packaging needs for essential foods and things, but I will argue that we should rethink our systems and designs to meet those needs”

a-2Captain Naicker said ocean going vessels globally in South Africa’s oceans space contributed very little to this as waste management on ships was highly regulated.

He said the Africa region alone had about 18 000 vessels traversing its waters annually, with just over 3 000 of these sailing through South Africa’s oceans space equivalent some 1.5-million square kilometers of an Economic Exclusive Zone, from the Atlantic, the Southern Ocean through to the Indian Ocean.

Yet, of 1469 vessels randomly stopped for inspection over a six year period between 2011 and 2017, only 2.5% were detained for violation of environmental management protocols at sea, and only about 0.1% were responsible for garbage and record keeping violations.

SAMSA is the country’s State agency tasked through legislation (the SAMSA Act 1998) with responsibility for ensuring safety of life and property at sea, the combating and prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships, and promoting South Africa’s maritime interests.

Guiding the agency’s activities with regards the first two objectives relating specifically to safety of life and property as well as sound integrity of the marine environment, were six (6) International Conventions for the Prevention of Pollution by Ships (MARPOL Annextures) pieces of legislation binding member port states of the IMO for strict implementation in their respective ocean spaces.

In addition all trade vessels registered (flagged) in countries that are signatories to MARPOL are subject to the legislation and associated regulations regardless of where they sail in the world.

“These clearly state that ships using South African waters have no right to pollute seas while sailing here and that we are entitled to take action against should they fail to observe the law.

“However, member states are also required to provide facilities that enable ships to dispose of waste they cannot manage responsibly on board the vessels.” said Capt Naicker.

For his full presentation (about nine [9] minutes) Click on the video.

To read more on Dr Jambeck’s work, Click Here, and Here

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Port St Johns thrilled by SAMSA driven maritime youth development programme

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Pretoria: 24 July 2017

Port St Johns, a small coastal town along the Indian Ocean in the Eastern Cape, almost midway between the port cities of Durban and East London, is beyond itself with excitement over a series of programmes intended to equip local youth with maritime related skills and possible creation of badly needed jobs.

The multi-stream maritime related skills development programme also involving a degree of corporate social investment, is driven by the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) along with partners including the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board Harambee, as well as the Eastern Cape provincial and local municipalities.

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Port St Johns Tourism office block

The basic maritime skills development initiatives relate to coastal marine tourism in two streams; cruise tourism under a Maritime Youth Development Programme, and a Coastal and Marine Tourism and Youth Leadership path involving youth training in sea diving, life guarding, and related skills.

Training under the programmes began in early July involving an initial group of 50 youths in the cruise tourism stream, and about 35 youths in the Coastal and Marine and Youth Leadership stream.

The cruise tourism youth skills development stream, formally launched by SAMSA together with the Eastern Cape Government and Harambee in East London on 14 July, anticipates the placement of the youths on cruise vessels around the world by as early as September 2017, after which a second and third batches of youths will also undergo training.

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A group of Port St Johns youths sitting for an initial written exam as part of an assessment for inclusion in the basic maritime skills development programme

The other stream involving the 35 youths and involving the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board, is also already underway with training, with completion also earmarked for August 2017.

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Some of the 35 Port St Johns youths who passed their first written exam to qualify for inclusion in the initial phase of the training programme

Alongside these youths skills development initiatives in marine and maritime related basic skills, is an assessment process of various tourism facilities in the area, inclusive of accommodation and hiking trails for possible assistance in promotion in tourism markets.

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Officials of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), the Port St Johns Tourism and the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board during a meeting in the town ahead of the start of the youth training initiative

The initiatives come also against the backdrop of Port St Johns, located in an area of some 1,291 km²  that falls under the O.R Tambo district municipalities, having been earmarked as the host for this year’s country celebrations of the World Maritime Day in the last week of September.

IMG_6188When once formally confirmed as host, this little town along the Eastern Cape’s 800km coastline – the second longest of the country’s four provinces bordering the oceans – and known more for its picturesque landscape through which the Umzimvubu River meets the sea, as well as pristine beaches and hiking trails that are a constant hit with domestic and foreign tourists alike, it will be the first time that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) driven annual event is held at a coastal town outside of South Africa’s major commercial port cities.

The staging of the World Maritime Day in Port St Johns in September according to the town’s mayor Ms Lindelwa Rolobile, may also just be the catalyst needed to draw more attention to the area’s potential for bigger contribution to the country’s maritime economic development currently pursued under the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative.  

IMG_6655The town quietly harbours hope for development of a small fishing industry launchpad. There are claims that it had been promised.

However, Ms Rolobile believes that in addition to tourism – in a coastal area also known worldwide for some spectacular shipwrecks over the years, including the sea cruise vessel; the Oceanos – Port St Johns can also be a hub for small to medium sea craft manufacturing.

An elated Ms Rolobile has described the much needed focus in the area by SAMSA as exciting and a long needed intervention particularly with regards youths skilling and possible creation of much needed jobs in an area of the country where youth unemployment is extremely high.

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Ms Lindelwa Rolobile. Mayor of Port St Johns

Speaking during the launch of the MYDP strand of the programme in East London recently, Ms Rolobile praised SAMSA for living up to a ‘promise’ it had made to the town back in 2012.

She also applauded the partnerships the organization has established with various other players in pursuit of realization of the socio-economic enhancement initiatives.

To listen to her remarks, Click Here.

Meanwhile, one of the youths from Port St Johns involved in the marine and maritime basic skills development programme, Mr Siphamandla Masikode, committed to making the best of the opportunities that were emerging for youths in his hometown.

Involved in the cruise tourism skills development stream under the Maritime Youth Development Programme, Mr Masikode said he considered himself lucky to have made it into the first group of 150 youths and hoped he would make it also in the first 50 who started formal training a week ago.

To listen to his remarks, Click Here.

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SAMSAites join Gauteng’s biggest walk for health, charity and awareness

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Pretoria: 24 July 2017

As many as 40 employees of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in Pretoria – known colloquially as SAMSAites – joined an estimated 53 000 other people for this year’s MTN/702 Radio Walk the Talk charity event in Johannesburg on Sunday.

2017-07-24 10.52.52.jpgSeveral of the SAMSAites walked the longest of the distances, a 15km traverse through picturesque parts of the city of Johannesburg including the iconic Nelson Mandela Bridge.

IMG_2044“It was in pursuit of wellness and healthy lifestyles, support of the MTN/702 charity drive, just as it was about own brand promotion to highlight the maritime economic sector,” Ms Itumeleng Pooe on behalf of the group.

IMG_2076That’s as much as what the organizers of the walk, cellular phone services company MTN and 702 Radio say the event about: having fun with others, making a difference through contribution to charity and simply exploring the City of Johannesburg.

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For more photos, Click Here

 

 

 

Marine tourism jobs boost on the cards for Eastern Cape: SAMSA

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East London: 15 July 2017

Marine tourism but precisely the cruise ships tourism subsector is set for a major boost in South Africa with the setting up of a sea cruise business partnership involving shipping group, Vukani Marine and an international operator, in Port Elizabeth.

An immediate positive impact would be the creation of much needed jobs on cruise ships for local youth, revealed Mr Sobantu Tilayi, chief operating officer at the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) in East London on Friday.

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Mr Sobantu Tilayi. Chief Operations Officer of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) addressing youths at the launch of the Maritime Youth Development Programme for the Eastern Cape in East London on Friday

Mr Tilayi was speaking during the formal launch of a Maritime Youth Development Programme (MYDP) for the province – a joint youth empowerment initiative between the Office of the Premier of the Eastern Cape, national multi-stakeholder youth empowerment outfit, Harambee; and SAMSA.

At its official launch at the port of East London on Friday, the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) linked project involved about 130 youths from the province who will undergo training in maritime related skills for possible deployment initially on cruise liners around the world.

This is the first marine tourism related initiative of its kind focused on the Eastern Cape Province, with the first batch of about 50 youths likely to be deployed as early as September this year.

Shipping group Vuka Marine is a joint venture between Via Maritime Holdings of South Africa and K-Line of Japan. It is the first shipping group to have its cargo vessels registered under the South African flag – the first of these, the Cape Orchid, flagged in September 2015.

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Some of the 130 youths from the Eastern Cape selected for training in a set of marine tourism skills related to cruise ships under the SAMSA driven Maritime Youth Development Programme during launch of the project in East London on Friday

Addressing the group of youths ahead of the start of their training programme in the next few weeks, Mr Tilayi, in the company of Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Phumulo Masaulle and some provincial senior government officials, Mayors and councilors of the Buffalo City and Port St Johns municipalities and others, said Vuka Marine in partnership with a Hong Kong based cruise ships operator, were planning the establishment of a training and jobs placement operation in Port Elizabeth.

The unnamed Vukani Marine partner according to Mr Tilayi, operates about 720 cruise liners mostly in the Caribbean, with a total crew of about  44 000 people.

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Mr Tilayi during an interview with national television and radio during launch of the Eastern Cape leg of the Maritime Youth Development Programme in East London on Friday. The entire event was broadcast live both on SAFM, SABCTV News, regional and local radio stations.

“They are setting up in Port Elizabeth so that we (South Africa) can have a slice of those job opportunities,” said Mr Tilayi, adding that one of the attractions that were drawing the initiative to South Africa was the country people’s versatility borne of the diversity of the domestic population.

He said South Africans generally spoke English which was the universal maritime language, and that South Africans generally interacted and therefore were more familiar with people of different ethnic groups – a characteristic also deemed as highly important in the maritime transport sector.

“That is the reason why the world is looking at South Africa producing the kind of people needed in that sector, “ he said.

He urged the youths to grab the opportunities emerging with both hands and work hard to profit from them not only for themselves but for the rest of the country.

For Mr Tilayi’s full remarks on the matter, Click Here.

Never should the Eastern Cape remain the backyard of South Africa’s economy

Meanwhile, the Eastern Cape provincial government applauded both SAMSA, Harambee and others involved in the Maritime Youth Development Programme initiative for the province.

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Mr Phumulo Masualle. Eastern Cape Premier

In welcoming the initiative, Premier Masaulle described it as an anomaly that the Eastern Cape province endowed with the second longest coastline in the country along the Indian Ocean – about 800km in total – yet benefited far less from its exposure to a maritime economy.

With emerging opportunities he said, it would be consistent with the province’s historical role of supplying labour to industries that its people should again emerge dominant in the further development of the country’s maritime economic sector.

Mr Masaulle urged the youth to set their aims high with a view to filling up and occupying any and all ranks available in the sector.

For his full remarks on the aspect, Click on the video above.

For more audio-visual coverage of the event, go to the Multi-Media page and click either on Photos, or Audio & Video, or otherwise, Click Here.

 

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Tourism authority in South Africa elated with African Marine Waste Network launch

Port Elizabeth: 14 July 2017

Local tourism authorities at South Africa’s third biggest coastal city and the economic capital of the Eastern Cape province, Port Elizabeth have committed to wasting no time implementing some of the strategies and insights shared at this year’s inaugural African Marine Waste Conference hosted here this week.

According to head of the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism, Ms Mandlakazi Skefile, the four day conference provided not only an opportunity to enhance the positioning of the city named after liberation struggle stalwart and the first democratic South Africa president, the late Mr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, but it also delivered on wealth of ideas on marine waste management strategies and ideas local tourism will definitely benefit from.

Ms Skefile was among some 300 delegates from across the world, but mostly Africa who had descended on Nelson Mandela Bay for a four day Africa Marine Waste conference that began on Monday and ended on Thursday afternoon.

Its main objective, according to organizers, was to use it as a launchpad for development of common strategies across the African continent towards the fight against and hopefully elimination of particularly marine waste at both inland and oceans surrounding the continent.

Tourism as a major contributor to marine waste globally featured promptly at the conference with tourism authorities encouraged to be part of the African Marine Waste Network launched at the conference this week.

Ms Skefile welcomed both the staging of the conference at Nelson Mandela Bay but also the opportunity to be part of a global initiative with an African focus and whose outcomes will benefit tourism services.

Ms Skefile said certain key practical issues that could be implemented almost immediately would be consolidated for launch this Spring, during beginning of this year’s summer tourism season.

To listen to her views, Click Here

Meanwhile, chief organizer of the week-long marine waste conference, Dr Anthony Ribbink, CE of Sustainable Seas Trust was full of praise for both the huge turned of high caliber delegates as well for the quality of resolutions taken.

With tears flowing from his eyes at the closure of the conference on Thursday afternoon, Dr Ribbink said he was convinced that the deliberations had set a meaningful platform for the African continent to fully pursue a common strategy on marine waste that would be hugely beneficial in several ways, inclusive of much needed jobs creation.

To listen to his round up of the conference as well as his view on it, Click Here.

 

 

 

 

Waste management strategies must lead to job creation: African Marine Waste Conference told.

 

Port Elizabeth: 12 July 2017

Fairly advanced first world waste management methods may be attractive but may have one crucial weakness – an apparent severe limitation in terms of generating employment opportunities.

That is among important issues some participants at this year’s African Marine Waste Conference currently on in Port Elizabeth are grappling with, this against the backdrop of high unemployment rates in developing countries in Africa, including this year’s conference host country, South Africa.

Mr Thabo Magomola, a director for monitoring and evaluation at the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and a member of a project team tasked with the establishment of a Waste Management Bureau to manage the implementation of the DEA’s strategic waste management programmes such as the Industry Waste Management Plan, is among participants at the African Marine Waste Conference consumed with the subject of future waste management strategies and job creation.

Presenting on a topic themed Circular economy employment and SME development in southern Africa, Mr Magomola suggested that there was a missing link between much need job creation in Africa and current and future waste management strategies.

This required creative thinking and solutions responding to developing countries’ need for job creation rather than whole adaption without adaptation of first world methods in waste management.

According to Mr Magomola, an expected population increase in South Africa in particular, by as much as eight (8) millions people by 2030, but with further projections that in that period, the segment of South Africa’s youth (15-29 age group) will have risen to more than 15-million, with largely black youth between ages 15-34 year’s old currently unemployed and with little prospect, this presented a massive challenge for job creation across sectors.

‘If left unresolved this trend poses the single greatest risk to social stability. Goal 8 of the (United Nations) Sustainable Development Goals seeks the creation of decent work and economic growth. The African Marine Waste Network in conjunction with Government and other roleplayers can realize this objective through the adoption of relevant best practices which can be found in Africa,’ he said.

He cited as an example the recent launch of a Recycling Enterprise Support Programme by the Waste Management Bureau of the DEA as one initiative towards finding balance between the two key issues: best practice waste management programs and job creation.

Ahead of his presentation at the conference this week, The 10th Province blog caught up with to squeeze more out of him about the subject.

Africa’s youth want in on solutions to waste management

Mauritian, Mr Rick-Ernest Bonnier, a Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders patron and marine education specialist in his home country, is among dozens of young people making up the more than 200 high profile delegates attending the African Marine Waste Conference in Port Elizabeth this week and there is a reason. Young people should be part of the solution finding initiative, he told this blog on the sidelines of the conference.

In the two (2) minutes video below, he explains why.

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A global war on plastic waste may see an end, with South Africa playing a lead role in it: African Marine Waste Conference

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Port Elizabeth: 11 July 2017

An ongoing global strife against marine waste, but particularly plastic waste gradually rendering the world’s oceans a cesspit of debris threatening all life on earth, might soon score some victories and South Africa might have a pioneering role in this regard.

It was confirmed on Tuesday that the country will be introducing a technologically advanced plastic material designed to rapidly dissolve in water once sufficiently exposed.

This emerged at the African Marine Waste Conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, involving more than 200 delegates, among them dozens of leading scientists from several African and other countries.

IMG_6403In an interview on the sidelines of the conference, Dr Sudhakar Muniyasamy, a senior researcher on polymers and composites at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) revealed that the new plastic material for use in plastic carrier bags used mostly by retail stores would begin distribution in the coming year.

He said two of the country’s major clothes and foods retailers, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths would be the first participants in the use of the new plastic material.

‘Plastic waste is a global issue and in seeking solutions to this problem, my research team focused on developing a plastic material that when it reaches landfill sites or the marine environment, it is completely biodegradable.

“The research and development phase is completed and we are now embarking on pilot scale production. The technology has drawn the interest of Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay and we are expecting them, maybe next year, to be on the license stage,” announced Dr Muniyasamy.

IMG_6436According to the scientist, once sufficiently distributed for single use plastic carrier bags from next year onwards, the new material should go a long way towards reducing plastic waste both at dumpsites as well as in the marine environment.

He also confirmed that along with the new technologically advanced plastic material, a campaign would be rolled to ensure that manufacturers of all plastic material currently in use meet a set of new stringent standards.

Dr Muniyasamy said South Africa was embarking on the efforts in collaboration with other African countries, among them being Egypt.

For the full five (5) minutes interview, Click Here

Booms, Bins and Bags – a B3 solution to the BIGA problem.

That is a solution driven by Dr Deborah Robertson-Andersson, a senior marine biology lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal primarily to rid rivers in that province of South Africa of plastic waste often left to float freely by both established waste removal entities of local municipalities, but also by the population generally.

The project according to Dr Robertson-Andersson came to life after she’d transferred from Cape Town to Durban and on approaching the beaches in the city, found them littered with all sorts of plastic waste but especially small items such as bottle tops, straws, earbuds and other smaller broken plastic materials.

In collaboration with others, including independent NGOs, the project involving volunteers collects as much as between 300 and 1300 bags of small plastic waste along rivers such as the Umhlangane and Umgeni per time period.

In a three (3 minutes) video, Dr Robertson-Andersson chats briefly about the project.

 

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Crew of stricken Taiwanese trawler rescued off the Indian Ocean. Warning issued about floating unmanned vessel

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One of two liferafts filled with crew members of a Taiwanese fishing trawler, the Hsiang Fuh No.6 who were rescued at sea in the Indian Ocean after abandoning their vessel  reportedly following a fire breakout on board on Sunday.The 30 crew members are currently on their way to Durban, South Africa

Pretoria: 11 July 2017

Ocean traffic to the east of South Africa on the Indian Ocean north east of Durban has been warned to be on watch for a stranded fishing trawler floating aimlessly, unmanned, after its crew abandoned it following to a fire breakout on board on Sunday.

The South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) on Tuesday confirmed that it had coordinated a rescue effort for the 30 crew members of the Taiwanese fishing trawler named as the Hsiang Fuh No. 6, after it had abandoned the vessel reportedly due to fire on board.

According to the website, marinetraffic.com, the Hsiang Fuh No. 6 is a 21 year old fishing trawler, measuring 45.65 meters in length and 8.3m in breadth, with a deadweight of some 489 tons.

In a statement on Tuesday, SAMSA reported that the fishing trawler’s crew, some with slight burns, had been successfully rescued and would be arriving in Durban some time on Tuesday (11 July, 2017).

According to SAMSA, the organization’s Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Centre (MRCC) based in Cape Town was notified that a container ship, the Ever Diadem, had spotted the Hsiang Fuh No. 6, on fire, and its crew were abandoning ship on two life rafts; about 736 kilometers East-North-East from Durban and some 496 kilometers from the closest shore.

1The rescue coordinating centre requested the Ever Diadem to recover the survivors, with an additional urgent request (MAYDAY) message relayed also to other vessels in the vicinity to assist in the rescue.

Bulk carriers, the Hampton Bay and SBI Antares, responded and the SBI Antares eventually assisted with the rescue.

“All the survivors were picked up – 16 crew by the Ever Diadem and 14 by the SBI Antares. Both vessels are proceeding to Durban to disembark the survivors.

“The survivors, mostly Philippine, Indonesian, Taiwanese and Vietnam nationals are fine with some reported to have suffered burn injuries. The necessary arrangements for the safe delivery and repatriation of the sailors were made and they will be met by representatives of their countries on arrival in Durban.

“MRCC is currently engaged in efforts to evacuate one of the crew that suffered burns from the Ever Diadem, 60 km off Durban. The air medical evacuation shall be done with the assistance of a South African Air Force and NetCare Paramedics,” said SAMSA in a statement.

SAMSA said its surveyors and investigators would meet the survivors on their arrival

The organization further commended  efforts of the Masters and crew of the Ever Diadem and SBI Antares for the valiant effort in saving the lives of the crew of the fishing vessel.

Meanwhile, SAMSA issued a warning to all seagoing traffic in that part of the Indian Ocean to be on the lookout for the stranded fishing trawler.

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The world’s oceans are drowning, but there is an economic opportunity to it: African Marine Waste Conference 2017

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Port Elizabeth: 10 July 2017

With more than 150 million tons of plastic material floating across the world’s oceans – and likely to rise to 950mt in 30 years – and with very little being done about it, the world is facing an imminent ecological disaster, scientists told delegates at a conference on marine waste currently underway in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa.

The African Marine Waste Conference 2017 began on Monday with about 200 delegates and will end Friday, with its main aim being to encourage development of concrete plans to turn the tide on plastic and related waste being dumped willy-nilly by nations bordering the continent’s coastline.

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Dr Linda Godfrey

Dr Linda Godfrey, a manager of the Waste RDI Roadmap Implementation Unit at the Centre for Science and Industrial Research (CSRI) in South Africa, one of the early speakers on Monday, painted a disturbing picture of particularly the African continent with regards both its current status on waste management as well as imminent future challenges that could make the task of eliminating plastic waste more difficult if not arrested effectively, soon.

She said the continent was largely characterized by poor landfill practices, general poor waste management, uncontrolled dumping compounded by a rapidly growing population of middle income people who were increasingly migrating to predominantly coastal cities.

“Africa is at a watershed, in that if we do not stop and take action now, we are going to be faced with a massive marine waste problem locally, regionally and the potential impact globally. And there are essentially seven reasons that I see for why we should take action now,” she said. For Dr Godfrey’s full remarks (lasting about 4.30 minutes) Click Here.

For her full conference presentation in audio only, Click Here.

There is no such thing as waste. We know enough!

Dr Godfrey’s presentation correlated with that by United States scientist, Dr Sylvia Earle, a multi science awards winner and founder of Mission Blue as well as a National Geographic Explorer in Residence.

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Dr Sylvia Earle

Plastic waste was not necessarily disastrous and instead a great economic opportunity if it was managed effectively through recycling, said Dr Earle.

She said lack of knowledge about the effects of plastic waste dumping particularly in the oceans was no longer an excuse as its effects were now fully understood.

“Most of the oxygen that we breathe is generated by the oceans. Ocean creatures take up carbon dioxide, a carbon dioxide that is important for photosynthesis generating food.

“But too much of a good thing is not only harming the oceans, by making the oceans more acidic, by warming the planet. The carbon dioxide and other gasses such as methane are accelerating the warming of the earth, causing polar ice to melt, changing the climate, changing the weather, changing the one place in the universe that is our home, the only home that humankind – seven billion  of us – will ever have.”

She said the conference currently underway in Port Elizabeth was a good opportunity to not only share the knowledge at hand about the effects of plastic waste in the oceans but to also explore creative  solutions necessary to effectively manage waste.

For her full remarks (about 4 minutes), please Click Here.

Operation Phakisa (“Waste Economy” ) on the cards for South Africa!

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Dr Andre Share

Meanwhile, it emerged that South African authorities were not only looking at increasing plastic waste management practices soiling its own three oceans characterized by 3200km of a coastline and some 1.5-million square kilometers of an Exclusive Economic Zone but also it  intended taking full economic advantage of it.

Dr André Share, head of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) in the Department of Environmental Affairs revealed that an Operation Phakisa Waste Management initiative in the offing and would be rolled out soon.

“Very soon, we will have a Waste Phakisa, and there we will unpack not only what we are doing with the waste, but also looking at how we turn this waste into opportunities and look at the whole secular economy in respect of waste.”

Dr Share in an opening speech delivered on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, said the launch of the Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy) initiative three years ago was incrementally showing positive returns in terms of investment in both ports infrastructure and related private sector investments in a whole range of projects across the country’s coastline.

“However, these developments, and indeed coastal development in general must be balanced with a need to ensure the health and integrity of our coastal and oceanic resources.

“Our oceans are under threat from pollution both from land based activities and sea based activities.

“The entire oceanic ecosystem is exposed to a wide range of pollution sources, such as illegal dumping practices, spillages from ships, waste disposal from port dredging operations to mining operations, and the discharge of sewage and storm water agricultural run-off and litter from land based sources.”

This he said, was despite the existence of stringent rules and regulations for all of the pollutants finding their way into the seas.

Dr Share said a sectoral approach was necessary to find a way to manage the waste streams and a “waste Phakisa” was on the cards to address the issue.

For his full remarks (about 4 minutes) Click Here.

We are here to learn: Indonesia government official

The Port Elizabeth 2017 conference has attracted attention from several countries across the world, with representations from both Africa, Oceana, the US as well as European countries including Norway.

Indonesia deputy Minister for the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Dr Satri Burhanuddin said his country delegation was attending the conference to learn about what solutions Africa might come up with that would be useful in his country for implementation.

“Africa is more like Indonesia. The middle class is growing and growing and so we actually face the same problem. So we want to learn also how Africa faces this problem.”

For Dr Burhanuddin’s remarks (about 2 minutes) Click Here

More coverage of the conference in next few days…

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