News Provincial Synod

Synod gives thumbs-down to plastic

Provincial Synod, meeting online from September 21 to 24, approved the following resolution on plastic pollution:

This Provincial Synod,

Noting that:

  1. Across Southern Africa only 16% of plastic is recycled. The bulk of discarded plastic ends up in landfill locations, scattered across the countryside, blocking drains or littering street verges. If not buried or burnt, it finds its way into rivers (due to wind, littering, improper waste management or overflowing landfills) and eventually into the ocean;
  2. It is estimated that eight million metric tons of discarded plastic end up in the ocean annually;
  3. South Africa, the 11th worst plastic polluter in the world, has indicated that the government is not willing to sign the draft Global Plastic Treaty, proposed by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP);
  4. Provincial Mothers’ Union passed a resolution in Lesotho (2015) to ban polystyrene at parish events;
  5. Informal waste pickers play an important role in recycling waste;

Acknowledging that:

  1. The practice in some rural communities is that families bring their own dishes to parish events from home;
  2. To us as people of faith, the well-being of the planet is more important than short-term financial gain;

Resolves to:

  1. Call for a ban of the use of polystyrene at all church events and requests that representatives of the executive of each Provincial organisation have a discussion about the implementation of this ban and that ACSA Environmental Network prepares posters with information for churches;
  2. Respectfully request the Archbishop to write to the Ministers of the Environment (or the relevant office) in each of the countries within in ACSA, encouraging them to sign the Global Plastic Treaty, and encourage the bishops of IAMA to consider doing the same.
  3. Recommend that where waste pickers service urban communities, Anglican households should separate their waste to help uphold the dignity of the waste pickers.

Proposer: Lulama Ntuta, Diocese of the Highveld

Seconder: Maria Van Staden, Mothers’ Union

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