Minister of MESTI, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) together with United Nations Environmental Programme(UNEP), Norway Embassy and other stakeholders in the plastic industry has held a 2-day National inception workshop to dialogue on how to curb and ensure sound management of plastic waste haunting the country.

This is to ensure that plastic wastes are handled in a more lucrative manner through the recycling method that can boost economic development.

The project of the workshop was titled: Marine litter and Micro Plastics; Promoting the Environmental Sound Management of Plastic Waste and Achieving the Preservation of the Environment.

The Minister of MESTI, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng explained that though the waste management companies were able to recover some modest quantities of waste and attempted to export the materials as scrap, they were unable to collect enough quantities to compete with the International market, adding that, it has brought about the littering of the surroundings and drainage system in the country.

” The pre-processing facilities to turn the waste plastic into flakes or pellets are critically lacking in Accra and the rest of the country. The net effect of this is that our surroundings are littered with plastics, and our drainage systems are choked most of the time,” he said.

He disclosed that the country generates over 3000 tonnes of waste from plastics, which constitutes about 14 percent of the entire municipal waste accumulated and therefore adequate policy must be adopted to address the menace.

” Within the Accra Metropolitan area, including Accra-Tema coastline areas, about 36.6 percent of the total wastes are plastics. Only 2-5 percent of the waste from plastics is collected for recycling, and this is almost performed by the informal sector,” he added.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng indicated that the plastic waste menace is a priority to the President, Nana Akuffo-Addo, and therefore ordered his ministry, MESTI, to develop a policy to address the problem in its entirety, stating, “this is why we decided to take a long-term view and to ensure that we salvage opportunities out of the threats that these challenges pose,”

He said the policy on plastic waste is aimed at enabling the natural development of a vibrant and market-driven domestic recycling industry and intended to result in an improved state of the environment and public health, reduce pressure on natural resources in the near future and eliminate importation of finished commodities into the country.

” The policy is also meant to create jobs for socio-economic development at the base of the economic pyramid and amongst most of the Sustainable Development Goals, which Ghana is a signatory, ” he noted.

He, however, opined, when the plastic management policy is fully realized, it would unlock economic incentives for source separation, collection, processing, and recycling of plastic waste into valuable resources which can generate revenue estimated at $ 4 million per year for the country.

” I believe by putting concrete standards and policies in place to guide the transition towards a circular plastics economy, we will achieve a myriad of positive outcomes for Ghana. We will see the creation of new jobs in the sustainable waste management sector, the protection of vulnerable individuals and communities from harmful effects, ” Prof. Boateng indicated.

The workshop was attended by the Norwegian Ambassador, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Nongovernmental Organizations, government agencies, and the private sector.

Source: Eric Nii Sackey

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