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Inkwazi Isu: Regenerating Plastic Waste Management

In Durban, a unique collaboration between government, industry, and civil society known as the Inkwazi Isu (Fish Eagle) Project is accelerating action to mitigate the city’s plastic pollution challenges.

Since its launch in 2020, the project has incorporated a holistic approach to waste management, underscoring community engagement and education, job creation, and environmental stewardship.

Demonstrating the immediate impact of Inkwazi Isu, the project has helped divert 9.4KT of plastic waste from landfill since June 2022, while in May 2023 alone, a record high of 1,1KT (>10KTA) was achieved. Due to its incredible success, rolling it out in other coastal areas is now being considered.

SST is proud to serve on the steering committee of Inkwazi Isu. It’s only through collaborations such as these that we can progress towards achieving a cleaner, more sustainable future for our oceans and communities.

Supported by a 1.5m USD initiative, Inkwazi Isu has brought together various organisations, including the South African Healthcare Foundation (SAHF), the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Plastics SA, Petco, SST, and eThekwini Municipality, among others.

Cornerstones sustaining Inkwazi Isu’s four-year programme:

Waste management infrastructural development: Ten newly upgraded Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) will soon begin operations. These facilities are expected to significantly increase the city’s capacity to sort and recycle plastic waste. Part of the objective is for each MRF to be self-sustaining, with sorted plastics and other recyclables sold to local recyclers. A full collection value chain that integrates all pillars has also been successfully implemented – allowing for plastic waste to be managed at every step of the recycling journey.

Education and awareness: Various education and awareness programmes have been launched in schools and communities to bring attention to the impact of plastic waste. Practical tips on identifying waste types have also encouraged students to bring in waste from home so that it can be sorted and recycled.

Innovation hub: The focus on community engagement and empowerment has generated numerous socio-economic benefits, such as job creation, skills development, and entrepreneurship programmes, while the project’s clean-up campaigns have helped increase awareness and participation among community members.

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