Fight plastic war for real

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What a time for someone to do something practical about the scourge of plastic. According to a story in these pages (SPAR’s war on plastic), the group’s Eastern Cape operation invested in 300 000 wax-lined, waterproof and reusable paper bags with a 12kg capacity.

Over two days early this month, they exchanged 10 plastic bags for a free one of those environmentally friendly alternative.

“We believe that safeguarding our environment and the future are often spoken about but not much is done,” said SPAR EC managing director Conrad Isaac, “As the biggest food retailer in the Eastern Cape, I believe we have to take care of the health and well-being of the communities in which we operate.”

Bravo SPAR. We wish all stores would invest in such an initiative. However, mostly, our wish would be for the government to slap such a high tax on a plastic bag that if you for example bought a loaf of bread for R8, and a pint of milk for R20, the tax on the bag would make it R50! If a plastic bag costs 45 cents, it’s easy to see why we always “forget” to re-use the hundreds we have at home, or to buy the slightly more expensive recycled fabric bags (at around R12 each), but which can last a year-plus with good care. Changing behaviour of this kind will not come out of the good will of customers. They should choose to spend R50 for a bag, with 45 cents going to the store, and the remaining R49.05 going to the Treasury as tax.

Back in our town, the two of the big events of the year – Scifest Africa and the Rhodes University graduation – have come and gone and there appears to be feverish activity on dilapidated roads across the city.

Here is hoping that by the time the National Arts Festival rolls around at the end of June, regular festinos can see a qualitative different between 2018 and last year.

As South Africa continues to mourn Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, the farming community is mourning the death of Riaan Scheepers who was badly beaten and died on 19 December 2017. Last week, a group known as the 911 Bikers rode through Alexandria to commemorate Scheepers’ life and thank the SAPS for fighting to stop crime in rural communities.

Congratulations to the Legal Resource Centre and the Prudhoe Community on their victory in the Land Claims Court this week. The judgment sets out why the court determined they were the rightful claimants to a portion of coastal land south of Peddie. In her introduction, Judge AJ Barnes says,”Restitution cases are often painful. They throw into sharp and uncomfortable focus South Africa’s history of racist oppression and dispossession. It is a history that is horrifying in its injustice and shameful in its brutality. This is such a case.”

We are fortunate to have the power of dedicated legal minds, and a strong justice system. This means restitution is a credible and viable route for the dispossessed and injured. It means there is no excuse for the alternative of raw retribution.

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