Outstanding plastic waste collection initiative

DSC_0662More than 39 000 kgs of waste was collected by the Plastics|SA Clean-Up Crews, cleaning up routes used by athletes during the recent Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon, which is widely known as “The World’s Most Beautiful Race”. According to Douw Steyn, Director: Sustainability at Plastics|SA, the majority of the waste collected during this annual event is made up of plastic, which has a high recycling value.

“We work hard to ensure that packaging is kept out of the environment and off the streets by employing clean-up crews from Masiphumelele, Ocean View and Athlone. Many of the members of the clean-up crews have been working with us for the past 10 years on race days, and are trained to quickly and effectively sweep the areas”, says Steyn.

Steyn also remarked that it was clear from this year’s events that athletes and spectators had a heightened awareness of the importance of not littering and keeping their environmental footprint as small as possible.

“The organizers of this year’s Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon in particular did an excellent job with their #GOGREEN campaign, which was launched prior to the race. This anti-littering movement, coupled with our waste management plan, offered a sustainable way to collect and process the non-organic waste which was generated during race week.

DSC_0035All event waste will be recycled and transformed into approximately 500 Green Desks for needy schools in and around Cape Town, thanks to a partnership between the Wildlands Conservation Trust and POLYCO (Polyolefin Recycling Company)”, says Steyn.

The Plastics|SA Clean-Up crews were also responsible for collecting the waste generated by spectators attending the SA Navy Festival and the Cape Town Cycle Tour in March.

“Although the cycle race was cancelled due to extremely windy conditions, our teams were hard at work prior to the race day and after break-up by the maintenance crews to ensure that the roads were left litter-free. We look back at two very busy, but very rewarding months.

“Under the guidance of Plastics|SA’s Sustainability Manager, John Kieser, our crews did a phenomenal job of collecting the waste and raising awareness about the importance of recycling. We applaud the organizers of all three events for their pro-active approach to waste management and event greening,” concludes Steyn.

China leads the push for Globalization 2.0

From MindBullets: News from the future…
Dateline: 4 July 2035

It’s taken two decades, but the demise of the United States as top nation was predicted way back in 2015. Now China is firmly #1 in economic terms, and the west looks decidedly lower-middle class.

The global power shift to the east has been driven partly by demographics, but also by China’s determination to expand its sphere of economic influence, and to co-opt key nations en route. Central to this ambition was the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, which links up dozens of nodes from Guangzhou to Rotterdam in a vast new logistics network.

DSC_0886Since the vision for this new Silk Road was announced in 2016, it has been expanded to involve 68 countries and upgraded for the digital age.

Almost all the rail links, seaports and border points are also connected by ultra-fast digital networks, and feature automated tracking and forwarding for global supply chain integration, enhanced with artificial intelligence.

President Xi Jinping’s goal was to pull countries and multinationals into a new economic order dominated by China, and he has succeeded. But the physical and virtual links spanning Asia and Europe have left North America behind.

The United States has been desperately trying to revive the Trans Pacific Partnership, but with so much of China’s funding and development committed to One Belt, only Japan is interested. Although the era of ‘America First’ is long gone, the legacy effects remain a drag on US growth.

Now the heartland of commerce and innovation lies in the rich, abundant markets of east Asia, while the old leaders in the west struggle to emerge from their isolationist slump. China is the new king of the global hill.

In praise of private game reserves

Without detracting from the wonderful and critical role that our national parks play in conservation we would like to take an opportunity to focus on the positive achievements of the private sector in this regard.

DSC_0895Around the middle of the 20th century, wildlife had no economic value in South Africa. At best, wildlife was simply good sport and there are numerous accounts of the eradication of huge numbers of free-roaming wildlife throughout southern Africa.

Plains game species were seen to compete with livestock, so animals like Bontebok, Blesbok, Roan and Sable antelope and Tsessebe were also slaughtered to the point that their populations numbered less than 500 individuals. Wildlife was considered to be vermin.

In the late 1800s, the government established some statutory game reserves on land that was not suitable for agriculture and some 30 years later, we had some national parks, many of which still exist today and form the bulk of the country’s primary tourism destinations. Even these reserves only had limited wildlife populations and through exemplary conservation management strategies based on trial-and-error methods, these populations were protected and increased.

DSC_0954Wildlife also started gaining economic value for private reserve owners and commercial wildlife ranching was recognised and supported by the state. These landowners focus on increasing natural habitats for wildlife and often convert agricultural land into suitable game areas. Their practises are sustainable and have a massive green footprint in terms of habitat, soil restoration and biodiversity support.

The role of the private game ranching sector:

Social Aspects

• Wildlife ranches generally employ more than three times the staff of livestock farms
• Over 140 000 people have jobs (about 65 000 of which are permanent positions) in the private wildlife industry
• There are about 10 000 private game reserves in SA
• There are over 20 million hectares of land in the conservation management industry – substantially more conservation land than all our national parks combined
• Private wildlife ranches generally focus on a select few of the game species on their land for commercial use but they provide habitat for countless species of mammals, birds, fish, insects and plants that are not used commercially at all. With habitat destruction being one of the primary threats to wildlife biodiversity, these private reserves play as critical a role in conservation as any national park, often providing vitally important corridors for wildlife between designated protected areas in areas that are becoming increasingly transformed by human activity.
DSC_1014• According to statistics from Wildlife Ranching SA, on average, a single wildlife ranch of about 2700ha that focuses on eco-tourism and biodiversity support is home to 45 mammal species, 266 bird species, 43 reptile species, 29 grass species and over 100 other tree and plant species.
• Several species (Bontebok, Blesbok, Roan and Sable antelope, Tsessebe, Black wildebeest, Leopard tortoise) have been rescued from the brink of extinction thanks to the creation of these reserves and now have healthy and growing populations in the country. There were only a few hundred disease-free buffalo in the country in the late 1900s and buffalo were also facing threats of eradication due to diseases they are susceptible to. Thanks to the collaboration of national and private reserves and various breeding projects, there are now more than 36 000 disease-free buffalo in the country – yet another success story for conservation in SA.

Economic Aspects:

DSC_1033• At present, the wildlife ranching industry, practicing both consumptive and non-consumptive uses of wildlife, contributes about R20 billion to SA’s balance sheet
• Approximately 20 000 tons of game meat is produced annually from this sector (excluding meat from biltong hunts), contributing to food security
• About 65 000 people are permanently employed by this sector with many more temporary jobs being provided throughout seasons or events eg. translocations/game capture operations, breeding projects, etc. These temporary positions push the total employment figure up to over 140 000 people that are supported by this industry, with a large proportion of employees made up of local community members.