By: Nokuthula Khwela.

Plastic garbage is killing South Africa’s aquatic life. South Africa (SA), as Africa’s leading producer of plastic garbage, must set an example in decreasing the impact of plastic waste on the ocean’s eco-system.

SA creates an amazing two million tons of plastic waste per year, accounting for more than 2% of the world’s ocean pollution. Less than 5% of this waste is recycled, leaving the remainder to damage our streets, landfills, water systems, and natural environments, including the ocean. Fishways announced the commencement of its Clean Up Mzansi, Clean, Fresh Tomorrow Corporate Social Investment (CSI) campaign to promote awareness about the value of our seas and the need to conserve them.

“The takeaway industry has a critical role to play in protecting the oceans and the environment. Takeaway restaurants are a major contributor to plastic waste, especially due to the use of disposable packaging materials such as plastic cups, straws, and cutlery. These materials often end up in the ocean, remaining there for hundreds of years and threatening marine life,” says Sindi Myeza, Marketing Manager for Fishaways.

The launch of this program is part of Fishaways ongoing sustainability commitment and aims to galvanize workers and SA at large to better safeguard our oceans, marine life, and the environment at large. By the end of 2023, Fishaways will be using 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable packaging. Customers will be glad to learn that plastic cutlery will be phased out of all Fishaways locations in favor of a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Fishaways held an official clean-up at Table Bay Beach in the Western Cape to kick off the Clean Up Mzansi program. Fishaways franchisees, staff, volunteers, and customers worked together to pick up and dispose of rubbish and plastics on the beach and along the coast during the clean-up.

“Our first clean-up was encouraging and saw South African’s join Fishaways to make a difference and preserve our oceans. We are excited to grow this initiative into a force for positive change in the environment, working to keep more of our beaches and coastlines clean around the country,” says Myeza.

South Africa’s global obligation is to reduce marine pollution. Rivers convey 80% of the pollution that generally ends up in the ocean after being transferred from consumers onto the streets, clogging sanitation and drainage systems.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Minister of Forestry and Fisheries, recently highlighted the impact of South Africa’s garbage production on the waters, saying that plastic will soon drastically destroy and replace marine life in the ocean. This is a tragedy that we can and must strive hard to avert.

Single-use plastic packaging puts a huge pressure on the ecosystem, particularly our oceans, forests, and fisheries, according to Minister Barbara Creecy. According to the WWF, the amount of plastic in the water is predicted to double in the next 15 years, and there will be no plastic in the ocean by 2050. There may be more plastic in the sea than fish (in terms of weight).

While many people believe that discarded plastic will degrade over time, the truth is that plastic never entirely disappears; instead, it degrades into tiny fragments that are just as hazardous. Every particle of plastic can spend decades in the water, threatening marine species and the marine ecosystem as a whole.

South Africa has a reasonably sophisticated waste management system when compared to other African countries, which means that the country produces more plastic trash but also has a greater potential to manage its waste properly. Plastic pollution, on the other hand, remains a big concern, and it is critical for companies in the takeaway industry to recognize and resolve their involvement in this issue.

“It crucial we all take responsibility and implement measures to reduce plastic waste and protect the oceans. Our Clean Up Mzansi initiative and our switch to eco-friendly packaging are just a small way we can make a difference in minimising plastic pollution and improving the health of South Africa’s marine life,” concludes Myeza.

To participate in the Clean Up Mzansi initiative, follow the Fishways social media channels or visit  for updates.


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