Why do we love plastic?

Everyone born beyond the 70’s, in Lesotho, cannot imagine life without plastic! But for majority of our parents and grandparents, plastic was regarded as the miracle wonder! A novelty and treasure of sorts! Most of them still have bags full of plastic bags!

Plastic is lightweight. Plastic packaging helps reduce food waste by extending shelf life of food. This means we can wrap fresh foods! Or temporarily store our food inside our lovely skafthins ready for lunch break! Plastic containers allow us to carry solids and liquids hot and cold! In today’s world where an average Mosotho commutes to work a minimum of 30 minutes! The miracle wonder still remains that big water bottle. That one that we fill up with warm water, fruits and herbs or whatever it is people put inside them! The national treasure that one! Plastics have become corner stones of community organizations and cooperation. Show me any village in Lesotho, where there is no group of likeminded men and or women who are buying plastic chairs and or utensils to use at funerals!  Mokhatlooalijana le litulo! (We will discuss why funerals and not other festivities on a later date!).  Most plastics we have discussed have long term use. As a result, can readily be re-used around the household!

However we have what we call single use plastics. These include the lovely white pearls of wonder that we get our take away food inside. From the nicely wrapped plastic spoons, forks and the dreaded Formica pack right down to the plastic straws. These common plastic products cannot be easily reused. As a result they are thrown away. Single use plastics commonly found and or used in our daily lives as Basotho include: With very minimal effort most plastics can be re-used and repurposed.

Why should I care about Plastic Pollution?

The growing reliance and demand for plastic, has been met with limited capacity for its disposal, collection, and recycling.As a result, most drainage channels, streams rivers, open fields and every other donga within Lesotho are slowly filling up with plastic waste!This is not a concern just for Lesotho. But Plastic pollution is one of the biggest global environmental challenges of our time. We all cannot deny the growing visual impact of plastic pollution! It takes away from this majestic beauty of our Country! For livestock farmers, this has brought on miseries of livestock loss!

Plastic pollution is slowly chocking water ways, streams and small dams within our country! We as a country have not carried out independent studies on the impact of pollution within our water, air and even on our bodies. But studies from other parts of the world show that broken down plastics (microplastics) have made their way into the food chain! They show that over 90% of bottled water and even 83% of tap water contain microplastic particles and trace amounts are increasingly detectable in human blood, stomachs, and lungs.

What can I, as Mosotho do to Beat Plastic Pollution?

Majority of us as Basotho do not feel we have to do much to stop plastic pollution. Since we all have a plastic bag full of plastics within the home. Yes, majority of Basotho re-use a lot of plastics within their daily lives! However, we finally all still dispose of old, broken and or dirty plastic items! We all must do our part to Reduce, Re-use and contribute towards repurpose of plastics within Lesotho.

Reduce – amount of plastic you use in your daily life!Use a re-useable bag when shopping Avoid buying fruits and vegetables that are wrapped in plasticWhere possible buy medicine in bulk, avoid plastic packagesAsk your local restaurant to stock green packagingInsist on paper or green packaging from your retailer Stop use of single use plastics at events or functionsUse re-useable plastic utensils at functionsBuy re-usable metal strawsManufactures to rethink their packaging solutions
RecycleSupport local initiatives that make use of waste plastic to make new products. Above are some of Paving bricks made  form waste plastic by children within God’s Love Centre – Sekamaneng
Re-useBring Skafthins when buying food from your street vendorRe-use plastic shopping bags as household carry bag etc. Manufactures buy back used containers
Re-purposeDonate your clean plastics bags to local crafts, community projects for re-purposing Use old skafthins for storage and or seedlings.Repair broken plastic furniture use around the home as outdoor décorPlace broken plastic chairs, tables etc within chicken coup

Joint statement made by: