Columns 24.8.2018 08:15 am

A totally different land issue

Thousands of plastic bottles and other pieces of plastic litter line the coastline south of Durban after a recent storm. Photo: Lisa Guastella.

Thousands of plastic bottles and other pieces of plastic litter line the coastline south of Durban after a recent storm. Photo: Lisa Guastella.

The land, I’m afraid dear reader, is not there to look after us. We are there to care for it. And too few of us understand that basic truth.

It is great news that most restaurants are now serving paper straws with drinks, but we have to do much more to slow down the mad pace at which we are destroying our planet.

We can, for example, take a few lessons from the Kenyans, who announced this week that people who use or distribute plastic shopping bags will be fined. But at local supermarkets we are still greeted with the traditional cashier’s war-cry: “Plastic?”

I honestly believe reasonable and peace-loving South Africans, as well as the lovely Snapdragon, appreciate this blue ball that we call home. But our feeble attempt to look after it is failing miserably.

We are so smitten with invader tree species that we take pride in the fact that our capital is called the Jacaranda City.

Our cars are plastic. Our makeup and shoes and breast-implants are plastic. Hell, even most of our neighbours are plastic.

We have already damaged the world and even our great continent beyond repair, and are now suffocating the oceans with our shopping bags and wrappers.

The fashion company Hugo Boss recently announced that they are going to manufacture a range of eco sneakers from a sustainable material manufactured from pineapple leaf fibres.

The word sneakers, of course, is only fashion-speak for a humble pair of tekkies with a designer label sewn onto it. Which inflates the price to a level where the Average South African can’t justify buying it. Not with the new 15% VAT rate or post-Ramaphoria R14.50 dollar.

Which is a pity, because with the latest fuel prices, many of us will soon be forced to invest in a pair of good footwear to deal with all the walking we will have to do.

Most of us have a special place in our hearts for one or two environmentally unfriendly products. The lovely Snapdragon zips around town in her diesel-powered panel van. Little Egg resists all potty-training attempts, clinging onto that ecological disaster called disposable nappies. And I am particularly partial to breast implants.

Thousands, if not millions, of our fellow South Africans argue and dream about unlocking the riches which they believe lie in future land ownership.

The land, I’m afraid dear reader, is not there to look after us. We are there to care for it. And too few of us understand that basic truth.

Dirk Lotriet. Picture: Alaister Russell

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