July 03, 2018

July is plastic awareness month, aiming at combating single use plastic items. The Theme for this year is: “It’s high time to create a Plastic Bag Free World!” Tuesday 3rd July was added to the environmental calendar as International Plastic Bag Free Day (IPBFD) – dedicated to heightening awareness about the issues brought about by this most popular of disposable carrying devices. We are reminded that these bags we pick up from the retailers are used for a very short time, usually around 25 minutes, and are then disposed. They may pass out of our thinking then, but they do not pass out of our world. Plastic bags remain in the world for anywhere from 100-500 years before finally decaying completely, and have a profound impact upon our environment as a result.

Every day millions of plastic bags are being disposed. The issue is pressing and campaigns like that of Two Oceans Aquarium’s Rethink the Bag have been instrumental in encouraging stores and consumers to rather use a longer lasting environmentally friendly bag. For many years now the team at the Marine Dynamics tourism hub has been minimising plastic use, especially plastic bags, even discouraging suppliers from individually wrapping clothing items in plastic. Other initiatives include no straws, no sugar/jam/butter sachets, no plastic bottles on the shark boat and the team uses recycled newspaper bags in the curio shops.

IPBFD is an opportunity to spread the word that a Plastic Bag Free World is possible and that environmental alternatives to single use plastic bags are available. To observe IPBFD Marine Dynamics, International Marine Volunteers, and Dyer Island Cruises Management team took an action to raise awareness on the environmental impact and hazards of single use plastic items by cleaning up the road from the African Penguin and Seabird Sanctuary to the Kleinbaai harbour.

“It is unfortunate that people still dispose of plastic bottles and their trash from their vehicles,” said Pinkey Ngewu of the Dyer Island Conservation Trust.

To make a difference, everyone can make a few simple changes:

  • STOP using plastic shopping bags
  • ONLY use a paper straw
  • ALWAYS carry a reusable coffee mug and water bottle

DATA: Bag Total 10 | Distance Covered 1km | Duration 2h40mins | Trash Weight 40.11kg