The Health and Environmental Impact of Plastic Waste Disposal in South African Townships: A Review
Twenty-first century human behaviour continues to escalate activities that result in environmental damage. This calls for environmentally friendly solutions, such as waste recycling and handling, to deal with the increased amount of waste, especially plastics. The plastic materials manufacturing sector is booming, particularly packaging; while only a fraction of its waste is recycled, another fraction is destroyed, and the larger part continues to pollute the environment. In addition to other waste disposal activities, destroying plastic or incineration (which could be for energy recovery) is usually subjected to strict legal requirements because of its effect on the environment. However plastic is destroyed or disposed of, it poses a serious challenge in both the short term and the long term to humans and their natural environment if the process is not efficiently managed. This article describes how a growing amount of plastic waste is disposed of haphazardly in South African townships, while most of the inhabitants are not aware or do not care about the adverse environmental and health effects of these actions. This article examines the environmental and health effects of poor plastic disposal in South African townships as it is in other developing countries to sensitise the citizens to the significance of reducing plastic waste quantities, which will downplay their impact on human health and the environment.