Plastic Management

The Environment and Natural Resource Research Initiative (ENRRI-EfD) Ghana has organized discussions on the need for a proper management of plastic waste in Ghana to reduce its negative effects and maximize its benefits.

The round table discussion brought together key players in the plastics industry from academia, policy makers, regulators, and the private sector, to learn from each other, share ideas, and find a way forward in dealing with plastic waste in Ghana.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of the discussions at GIMPA Executive Conference Centre, Dr. Kwami Adanu, Head of Economics Department, GIMPA, said “Act 863 was passed in 2013 to help generate revenue and roll back the plastic waste problem the nation is confronted with. Unfortunately…it has failed to produce desirable outcomes.”

“So this is the time for us to go for a fully-fledged plastic waste market which is decentralized across the country, supported by apps to help waste collectors and buyers to easily meet and trade plastic wastes,” Dr. Adanu said.

Dr. Adanu, who had earlier done a presentation on the growing plastic waste problem, indicated that Ghana needed to take advantage of the various options available to her and stop overly relying on recycling since a lot of the plastics were not recyclable, giving the technology Ghana had and for the fact that one could not continue to recycle the same plastic material after some time.

Dr. Adanu called for more inter-agency collaboration “because this is a massive problem that the nation is confronted with. We have to fund more studies, particularly in the area of material flow so that we can estimate how many plastic wastes we are generating, because you cannot be putting together recycling plants when you don’t know how much plastic waste you are generating in the first place.”

Madam Cynthia Asare Bediako, Chief Director, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations, informed that the situation was an eyesore, but the ministry at the same time had to tread cautiously in order to manage the situation well.

Madam Bediako was happy that Cabinet had approved a policy that would effectively deal with the situation, and informed that currently, ground works were ongoing for a full take-off of the policy.

She charged the media to go beyond just mentioning the effects of plastic waste in their reportage, but collaborate among themselves and come out with a grand strategy that would help drum home the need for individuals to commit themselves to the fight against poor management of plastic waste in Ghana.

Mr. Daniel Mensah Tornyigah of the Federation of Plastic Manufacturers, Recyclers and Users, Ghana observed “that plastics itself is not a problem, but the problem is the individual, and we believe that with the right policy institution, plastics would be an added financial benefit to the nation rather than as a curse or challenge to the nation.

“So we believe the talk should continue, but they should walk the talk, especially, those in the ministries, departments, and agencies.”

Mr. Tornyigah indicated that banning plastics was not the best approach because countries which had done so, had to do a deeper inquiry to know what existed, what was the alternative, and why banning was the best option.

“So from the Ghana perspective, when you indicate a policy of banning, you indicate that all the jobs in the formal and informal sectors of the plastic value chain, which is over 3.5 million employable jobs, would all be lost,” he added.

Mr. Tornyigah informed that banning should be the last option when all the parameters had failed, but not when people were willing to join the call to reduce the quantum of plastic in the open environment.

ENRRI, one of the 15 centres of the Environment for Development (EfD) initiative. ENRRI-EfD Ghana, aims at contributing to sustainable management of Ghana’s natural resources through capacity development, policy-relevant research and policy engagement.

Established in 2019, the Initiative is hosted by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana (UG), in collaboration with the School of Research and Graduate Studies (SRGS) at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) with funding from the Swedish International Development Initiative (Sida).

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