Marine Pollution

The Ghana Wildlife Society in partnership with Let’s Do It Ghana, a civic movement, on Saturday cleared some beaches in Accra including; the Laboma Beach of plastics to protect marine life and aquatic foods for human consumption.

The organisations also did brand auditing to sort out plastics to discover which brands or companies indirectly polluted the environment, especially aquatic life the most with their plastics.

The exercise was observed by 180 countries globally on the theme, “1 Day to Clean up Our Planet”.

Ms Louisa Kabobah, the Project and Conservation Education Officer of the Ghana Wildlife Society, said plastics posed a great havoc and danger to marine life especially sea turtles, dolphins and sharks.

She explained that sea turtles often mistook plastics for algae, which they fed on, and thereby getting choked and losing their lives.

Sea turtles, she said, were now endangered species globally as a result of marine pollution, hence, it was important for all to join forces to either prevent their continuous death or stabilise their population in seas.

Ms Kabobah explained that plastics do not leave the environment but disintegrate into smaller particles, adding that: “And when the fishes feed on them, it becomes a risk to human consumers. Even if plastics would leave the environment, it would take about 400 years.”

She said researches had shown a link between consumption of minor particles of plastics in fishes to some cardiovascular diseases and cancers; hence it was important to discourage single use plastics and improper disposal of plastic waste.

“When you go out to shop, instead of collecting a plastic bag for your groceries, carry with you a shopping bag. If it is water, you can buy a reusable bottle and be re-filling it. If it is a container that you cannot do without, just make use to reuse it so that it becomes sustainable,” she advised.

Mrs Kate Opoku, the Country Leader of Let’s Do It Ghana, said among the problems identified in the wake of COVID-19, was the inappropriate ways by which face masks were disposed of, and sometimes ending up in the sea.

“As we cleaned up the beaches today, we saw a lot of them, so we want to tell people, please dispose of your face masks well after using them, else they would end up in the sea and it is going to affect our marine life,” she advised.

Mrs Opoku said the report from the brand auditing would be incorporated with the global reports, and measures would be put in place to discourage promoting brand that would further harm the environment.

“Our message to companies identified after the brand auditing that cause most of the pollution is that, they can do more and better in terms of packaging. We need products that can be reused, recycled and are environmentally friendly, because single use plastics are killing our environment,” she added.

The exercise was organised with support from Street Sense Organisation, Decathlon Ghana, Australian High Commission, La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly, Laboma Beach, Green Way International and Coastal Conservancy Organisation.

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