PHOTO CREDIT: Muntaka Chasant.
PHOTO CREDIT: Muntaka Chasant.

Plastic pollution fight needs single effective action

Once again, the Daily Graphic has had to return to the issue of plastic waste because of the negative impact its improper disposal has on the environment.
The country’s population of approximately 30 million people is estimated to generate over 3,000 tonnes of waste from plastics across the country daily, a figure that constitutes about 14 per cent of the entire municipal solid waste accumulated in the country.

We may not know the extent of degradation the environment is being subjected to, but information that plastic bags take between 10 and 1,000 years to decompose, while plastic bottles can take 450 years or more, should alert everyone to the fact that something decisive has to be done, and immediately too, to deal with the plastic menace.


The information is critical, viewed against the backdrop that researchers have issued a warning that plastics in the soil, sediments and freshwater could have long-term negative effects on such ecosystems and that the threat is bigger on plants and animals, including humans.

We know of the numerous efforts being made to deal with the problem.

Just last week, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, launched the Ghana National Plastic Partnership Action Plan that is set to be the game-changer in the management of plastics in the country by promoting green alternatives and nurturing the development of new business models for job creation, as well as developing systems and infrastructure across the country to ensure that plastic waste is turned into value-added products.

Just a couple of days ago too, the Environmental Protection Agency hinted of a possible ban of some single-use plastics under the action plan.

The Daily Graphic acknowledges the contribution that plastics have made to the socio-economic development of the country in terms of job creation and taxes.

We are also witnesses to how single-use plastics such as water containers have made life healthier, unlike in times of old when people had to drink water from cups shared by many people.

But the waste from these plastics has ended up polluting many water sources. In fact, each passing day brings news of the devastating effect of the plastics.

Just yesterday, at the launch and inception meeting of a project to complement national efforts at solving the menace of plastic waste and marine litter in

Accra, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, said out of the over 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated across the country every day only between two and five per cent was recycled. (See story on Back page.)

Relatedly, the Director-General of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), Mr Michael Luguje, at another forum, also disclosed the alarming news that plastic pollution of the sea posed safety challenges for vessels calling at the country’s ports.

He said plastic waste could find its way into the propellers of ships, and that could distract vessel navigation if they got into the anchorage.

All these challenges with plastic waste call for action. We are gladdened by the collaboration between the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and

Innovation and some international partners to complement national efforts at solving the menace of plastic waste and marine litter.

The Daily Graphic thinks all these efforts are good, but we submit that we must be able to coordinate all these into one single programme that will ensure that the war on plastic pollution is waged with a single effective action.

We also note that in some jurisdictions, there are deliberate policies to discourage the use of plastics. Shoppers who opt for plastic carrier bags are made to pay more and this has reduced considerably the quantity of plastic waste in the system.

We think as we make efforts to deal with the plastic waste problem, we must ensure that all activities are synchronised to get the best of results.

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