Ghanaian fisher lament plastic waste interference with their livelihood


Increasing plastic pollution in Ghana’s oceans remains one of the biggest headaches for fishers in the country.

Isaac Quaye, an artisanal fisherman at Chorkor, a coastal fishing community in Ghana’s capital, lamented (in his native Ga language) here that the situation was so bad that some of the days all they brought back in their nets was plastic waste in place of fish.

“Now at our beaches, the plastic waste is a great bother to us so when our fishermen go to sea, it is all waste that they get in their nets. This waste is a great bother for us; most of the plastic we have cannot be recycled so the government needs to take action on this to help us,” Quaye voiced.

He added: “My father has a boat and we go fishing but because those using light to fish scrape all the sea beds, we return home with an empty boat and sometimes with plastic waste in our nets.

Previously, one was greeted with the sight of abundant fish haul on reaching the fishing landing beaches in the morning, while fishermen are busy drawing their nets to empty them of the catch. However, the scene has changed and instead of fish, all one sees on the beaches is plastic waste.

These are usually remnants of water that has been drunk, or soft drinks taken sometimes far away from the beaches, in the sprawling middle class and upper class communities but were not well disposed of, leaving them to be washed down into the sea by running water when it rains.

Quaye noted that industrial trawlers which fish on the high seas also “outplay us and we end up getting nothing. But the government must take action on the plastic waste and the light fishing”.

Minister for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development Elisabeth Afoley Quaye told Xinhua here recently that one way of providing alternative livelihood for the fisherfolk was plastic recycling facilities government was putting up to use plastic recovered from the sea and the beaches as raw material.

“Our fisheries are over-capitalized so we have to reduce the number of people who go fishing. So we are putting up this plastic recycling facility to get some fishermen off the sea so they can process the plastics. They will go round themselves to pick the plastics from the beaches and process them. So this is how we are trying to clean up the beaches as well. “

She added that the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources had outlined a number of programs including “The clean beaches” and the “Clean Ghana Campaign” which included cleaning exercises and educational outreaches to rid the country of filth.. Enditem

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