The announcement of another Pick ‘n Pay Stikeez drive has raised concerns among members of the public and environmental organisations. The issue is the fact that more unnecessary (and essentially single-use) plastic waste is being introduced into the environment via a major national retailer, utilising their substantial customer base.

While the Two Oceans Aquarium respects the right for retailers to market their products to achieve their objectives, many concerned members of the public have turned to the Aquarium to take action.

 The current Stickeez theme is a marine one and some people thought that this would be a perfect match with an organisation such as the Two Oceans Aquarium. The vision of the Two Oceans Aquarium is "Abundant and Healthy Oceans for Life" and our mission is "To Inspire Action for the Future Well-being of our Oceans". Bearing in mind our clear objectives, our conservation efforts and our journey of sustainability on behalf of the ocean, the Aquarium cannot endorse the Stikeez campaign in any way.

If you are a concerned citizen, we encourage you to voice your concerns about the Stikeez campaign and to address these directly to Pick n Pay. Initiatives such as WWF SASSI prove that consumers have the power to change the way companies do business.

Some people do not understand what the fuss is about one more plastic item when, day to day, we are surrounded by plastic and indeed depend on plastic in many different ways. However, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released research in January this year revealing that the equivalent of one dump truck of plastic pollution currently “leaks” into the ocean every single minute. This means 60 trucks in one hour. “Leakage” is the term used to describe plastic that mistakenly ends up in the sea.

Given that fads come and go, it follows that the latest Stikeez will inevitably be marginalised by most collectors and end up as waste in landfills and the environment at large. According to the WEF, if we continue business as usual we can expect that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans, by weight, than fish.

Close to three billion people on earth rely on fish as their source of protein and the presence of plastic has been identified in the ocean across the globe. Studies have also shown that many fish species have plastic in their gut as a result of ingestion. 

We at the Two Oceans Aquarium have witnessed first hand the impact of plastic on marine animals and the sad consequences.

Loggerhead hatchlings drift with the ocean currents. They mistake plastic for food. This one had half a gram of plastic in its body Unfortunately, it did not survive. Photo by Renée Leeuwner

As an organisation that takes its environmental responsibility seriously, the Two Oceans Aquarium encourages other organisations to fully consider the potentially unintended consequences of their marketing actions. We strongly believe in educating our visitors so that they leave with a deeper appreciation of their planet and are inspired to take personal actions that benefit the whole.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. ” – Margaret Mead

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