Forum on Life without Plastics held in Tamale

Global Plastics Treaty
Global Plastics Treaty

Stakeholders at a forum on “Life without Plastics” have expressed need for businesses to adopt biodegradable plastics and paper bags for packaging their products to safeguard the environment.

Businesses have also been encouraged to promote and or incentivise the reuse of same bags or containers by their customers to reduce the plastic menace in the country.

This formed part of the action plans developed at the forum in Tamale, whichbrought together various stakeholders for a dialogue on the theme: “The Realities of Plastics, the Environment and the Devastating Impact.”

The stakeholders included about 40 restaurants and hotels within the Tamale and Sagnarigu area, representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Standards Authority, Food and Drugs Authority, Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Sagnarigu Municipal Assembly, civil society organisations and the media.

It was organised by NiV, a social enterprise organisation based in Tamale, in partnership with Norsaac, and Youth Challenge International as part of the “Life without Plastics” project, which is being implemented in the Tamale Metropolis and the Sagnarigu Municipality of the Northern Region.

The project, which is funded by Global Affairs Canada, seeks to create awareness amongst proprietors of businesses in within the two assemblies on the harmful impact of plastics on the environment and the eco-friendly alternatives that exist for them to adopt to safeguard the environment.

Whilst plastics are heavily used by businesses in their daily activities, just about 10 per cent of plastic waste is collected in the country, a situation, which poses a lot of threat to the health of the environment.

During the forum, whilst businesses expressed their willingness to shift to the use of biodegradable plastic and or paper bags, they said paper bags were not only expensive, but they found it difficult to access them within the Tamale Metropolis and the Sagnarigu Municipality.

Mr Abdul-Basit Baba, Manager, Tacorabama Restaurant, said the forum was an eye opener, adding shifting to the use of biodegradable plastics as well as paper bags was the right way to go to protect the environment.

Mr Hafiz Rufai, Assistant Programme Officer, EPA, Northern Region, who represented the Regional Director of EPA during the forum, expressed need for more investment to ensure proper recycling of waste at the landfill site.
He said there was need to start practising waste segregation from the home, through the schools to institutions, adding “Once we do that then MMDAs must also set standards for the waste collectors for their trucks to be
compartmentalised in such way that the various wastes that are segregated from the various homes and institutions can be put in their proper compartments so that they do not get mixed before reaching the landfill sites.”

Mr Mohammed Ukasha, Chief Executive Officer of NiV, said the project would follow up on the action plans developed at the forum by visiting the businesses to see how such action plans were being implemented to address the challenge.
Mr Ukasha said as part of the project an event would be held to link businesses to service providers in the area of biodegradable products to help address the issue of unreliable supply of such products.

He said policy makers and relevant stakeholders would also be engaged on the need for measures to reduce the plastic menace in the country.

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