AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine has unveiled an initiative dubbed, “Plastic Bottle Collection Initiative” to encourage proper disposal of plastics.
The initiative is to help reduce plastic usage on the mine’s site by 70 per cent.
Mr Samuel Boakye Pobee, Managing Director of the Mine, announced this during the Mine’s celebration of this year’s World Environment Day under the campaign “Beat Plastic Pollution.”
Commenting on the initiative, he said, “We have this giant metallic bottle design bin placed outside so henceforth when we drink water, we will squeeze that bottle and deposit some into the bin.”
Mr Pobee noted that the project would be extended to other vantage points on the Mine because if they did not take the initiative nothing positive would happen.
He said, “each year, millions of tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans, rivers and landfills, choking our planet and leaving a lasting impact on future generations.”
He said, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, at least eight million tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans each year, which is an equivalent of dumping one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute.
“If nothing is done, this will increase to two garbage trucks a minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050,” he stressed.
Mr Pobee indicated that at Iduapriem, “it is mandatory that all waste generated is segregated at source and this includes the separation of recyclable waste for future recycling of which plastics form a greater percentage.”
He said notwithstanding, the Mine would continue to find other innovative ways to reduce plastic pollution on site.
The best way to curb this plastic menace is to avoid completely, where possible, all forms of plastics by using alternatives. In instances where this might not be feasible, the practice of the three R’s is encouraged, that is to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle plastics, he advised.
Mr Pobee reiterated that the time had come for all to take a stand, to acknowledge their responsibility and collectively work towards a sustainable and plastic-free future.
Mr Nixon Asante, Vice President, Environment, on his part explained that “Globally we produce 430 million tons of plastic annually. Two thirds of this plastic is single used, nine per cent is only recycled, 17 per cent is incinerated, 22 per cent is mismanaged and 46 per cent end up in landfills.”
He, therefore, called on individuals, institutions, organizations, and the government to be cautious on the policies they make on plastic management as it also has impact on climate change.
Mr Asante appealed to teachers to educate students extensively on the effect of plastics to aid in the fight against the menace which has become a global crisis, endangering the ecosystems, wildlife, and human health.
Assistant Programme Officer, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Tarkwa Office, Mr Lorenzo Hasford, explained that one emerging issue they have identified in Tarkwa was the burning of waste large machine tyres by scrap dealers.
He said, “we have a metal at the edge of these used tyres so the scrap dealers collect them from mining companies and burn to have access to the metals to enable them make money.”
Mr Hasford pointed out that, “currently we have informed most mining firms to halt taking out these tyres so we can find proper ways to handle them when they come out of the mine in order to protect the environment”.
Some departments and contractors of Iduapriem Mine were recognized and rewarded for their hard work to serve as motivation for others to emulate.