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The plastic bag levy on shopping bags at South African retailers will increase from 12 cents to 25 cents at the beginning of April, finance minister Tito Mboweni revealed in his Budget speech.

While progress has been made to reduce plastic pollution in the South African environment, such pollution remains a significant problem, particularly for marine.

It is estimated that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic litter the world’s oceans, the national Treasury said.

A review of the current levy, including a clarification of the tax treatment of compostable bags, will be undertaken;

Treasury promised to consult role-players on extending the current levy on plastic bags to all single-use plastics used for retail consumption, including plastic straws, utensils, and packaging.

Several major South African retailers, including Woolworths and Pick n Pay, have already started to phase out single used plastic in its operations with some stores no longer offering plastic bags.

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