Plastic waste threatens Ghana’s fishing industry

Fishermen mending their fishing net

Fishermen at Teshie, like in many other fishing communities in Ghana, have been plagued by plastic waste.

Walking down any street in towns and cities or even in the villages, one can see plastics floating in rivers or blocking drains, with some of the waste ending up on the beaches.

At Teshie beach, the fishermen complained about “harvesting” more plastic waste than fish. Dead fish were occasionally found floating on the water, some of which are believed to have died of consuming the plastic.

Since plastics in Ghana are not biodegradable, it takes many years for them to decompose.

When our reporters visited the coastal community, the whole beach was covered by filth with the fishermen strategizing on how to clear them.

The chief fisherman at the community, Nii Adjei Wawadja, who supervises the work of over 2,500 fishermen, said several appeals to the authorities to help tackle the problem had not yielded positive results.

“The authorities should come and see whether this beach is a hygienic transit point for fishes that are caught because the fish that is brought from the sea is first discharged here. And the same place you have refuse and feces also being deposited here. So when you come here to buy and you see all this unhygienic surrounding, you will not feel like buying,” he told Xinhua.

Some fishermen lamented that the situation was killing their businesses and livelihoods.

Ama Agege, a fisherman with over 20 years’ experience, said the continuous use of light in fishing and the filthy beaches were destroying their livelihoods.

“The plastic waste has destroyed the sea. People have built their factories from which they make their money and it is destroying the sea for us,” he said.

Another fisherman, Agoe Thousand, told Xinhua that they used to catch a lot of fish in the past but the lights and filth have caused their catch to shrink.

“At this seashore, we don’t fish with lights but some people come with lights to fish so it has destroyed the fishery stock. You have to go to deep sea and stay there for six to seven weeks before you make a catch and even with that it is small fishes you get,” he said.

The government has hinted that it will introduce biodegradable plastics by July to ensure that plastic products are made with oxo-biodegradable additives as a way of safeguarding the environment.

Experts say adding oxo-additives to plastics will ensure plastic products produced will easily decompose without posing any threat to the environment, especially the marine ecosystem. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/

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