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Environment Day commemorated

BY: Justice Agbenorsi
Dr Kwaku Afriyie (right), Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, inspecting a shopping basket made from recycled plastic materials. Looking on is Dr Zenator Agyeman-Rawlings (arrowed), Member of Parliament for the Korle Klottey Constituency. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA
Dr Kwaku Afriyie (right), Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, inspecting a shopping basket made from recycled plastic materials. Looking on is Dr Zenator Agyeman-Rawlings (arrowed), Member of Parliament for the Korle Klottey Constituency. Picture: ELVIS NII NOI DOWUONA

This year’s World Environment Day has been commemorated in Accra, with a call on the citizenry to unite to protect the environment from the menace of plastics.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, who made the call, said although it would be difficult to immediately ban the use of plastics in the country, individuals must take up the initiative to protect the environment.

He was speaking at the Head Office of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana (PCG), Osu, Accra, where the day was commemorated on the theme: “Only one earth”, with the slogan: “Beat plastic solution.”

The commemoration was attended by public officials, students and the public.

There was an exhibition of some recycled materials.

World Environment Day is commemorated on June 5, every year to encourage people to take action and protect the environment.

Public campaign

Dr Afriyie said the current state of plastic management in the country required intense public campaigns to engage the public, including businesses, schools, hospitals and the media, on the need to collaborate and address the challenges to safeguard the nation’s ecosystem for sustainable development.

He said managing plastic waste was one of the major difficulties confronting the country, and that single-use plastics mostly choked drains, eventually causing flooding in most low-land communities during the rainy season.

To ensure that the country beats the menace of plastic pollution and contributes to attaining a cleaner, richer and greener city, he said MESTI was delineating the country into grades for the proper collection, storage and recycling of plastic waste.

He said public and private collectors would also be engaged in the programme, while a grid system of monitoring the collection and storage of plastics would also be implemented.

According to the minister, the government had approved a draft policy on national plastic management, which would ensure regular public education, job creation and the promotion of recycling and innovative measures to phase out hazardous plastics in the country.

Tackling waste

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Korle Klottey, Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, said to effectively tackle the plastic menace, there was the need to allow the local authorities to perform their roles without any interference.

She said often, when those who flouted by-laws were arrested by the local authorities, some individuals of higher authority called for their release.

That, the MP said, would hinder the fight against the menace of single-use plastics in the country.

She further stressed the need for the passage of legislation to ban the use of plastics, adding: “The future impact of plastic is no longer 10 years from now; it’s happening now.”

In a speech read on his behalf, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCG, Rt Rev. Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, said it was a divine duty for Christians to protect the environment, as stated in Genesis 1:28.

He also called for a change of mindset towards preserving the environment, saying a well-rounded Christian was not only spiritual but also environmentally conscious.