The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on Wednesday held a schools’ debate, as part of the activities lined up for the celebration of this year’s World Oceans Day, in Accra.
The event was to create the awareness among students and the youth on the role of oceans and the need to keep and preserve them at all times.
Participating schools were Presbyterian Boys Secondary School, (PRESEC) Legon and Accra Girls Senior High School, while the theme for the debate was ‘Governments are responsible for addressing the problem of plastic waste in the oceans’.

PRESEC, debating for the motion, emerged winners, with the cash price of GHC10,000.00, set of books, a plaque and certificates. While Accra Girls, debating against the motion received GHC700.00, set of books, a plaque and certificates.
Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, Deputy Executive Director, Technical Service, EPA, said World Oceans Day is a day set aside globally to create awareness on the need to preserve the ocean, with the focus on the seas.

He said the issue was a global phenomenon and the day was also to help individuals put value on the need to stop the practice of polluting water bodies with plastic waste.
He said the ocean must be used in a way that would ensure that services they provided continued beyond this generation, so that the next generation of people would come and find it in a better state than it was now.
“When we continue to put more plastics along our beaches, it affects the capacity of the oceans to provide us with the services they need to provide,” he said.
Mr Appah-Sampong noted that the oceans, naturally play a critical role in the lives of humans, by serving as a means of transport and recreation, producing hydrocarbons, preserves aquatic lives, has tourism potential, serves as form of livelihood for people among others.

“You cannot walk along the oceans and enjoy it, you find plastic all over the place and our fish resource are being depleted because of that. The plastic that we put on the land is washed into the sea, and the sea without the capacity to take what is put in, would always bring it back to us, and that is where we realize we need to change our attitudes.”
He noted that it is a collective responsibility between government and the private sector, emphasizing that behavioural change on how to manage plastic waste was the key solution.

A symposium would be held on June 8, to climax this year’s celebration, he added
Mr Carl Fiati, Director, Natural Resource Department EPA, said Ghana imported 2.5 million tonnes of plastic granules a year for various plastic products out of which 19 percent was reserved and 70 percent constitute waste that was disposed off, which ended up in the sea.

He said it is estimated that by 2050, oceans of the world would have over 980 million tonnes of plastic with 800 million worth of fish, indicating that plastic would outweigh the fish.
Mr Fiati urged all to take keen interest in protecting and preserving the oceans, saying “if we continue to reduce the value the oceans we would also be reducing the benefit that can be derived from it.”