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Small town, big smell

A black plume of smoke rose into the sky recently as I approached Elands Bay from the Piketberg side on a day with a light onshore blowing. The smoke reached a height of around 80m before the light wind currents brought the smoke down in line with the road. Not just any old smoke, but choking, black, acrid smoke smelling like burning plastic. Breathing shallowly with a t-shirt over my nose and mouth, I drove on to escape the cloud.

If you put your recycling in a separate bag for collection in a small town like Elands Bay, it gets taken to the dump and burnt along with everything else. Normally the smoke blows away without any fuss… somebody or something else’s problem. The accumulative effect burning refuse in all the little and not so little dumps around the country? Listen to the news, look on the internet. No capacity for recycling? It’s not ok, as Kelly Slater says.

What can we do? Bring our recycling home from places like Elands Bay, for a start. Associated health issues with burning plastic must surely make the actual cost of plastics very high.