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MESTI launches Ghana Circular Economy Centre, Plastic Circular Economy Projects

BY: Kweku Zurek
MESTI launches Ghana Circular Economy Centre, Plastic Circular Economy Projects

The Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Organisation (UNIDO) and Global Affairs Canada launched two projects aimed at assisting the country towards a just transition to a circular economy framework that supports the efficient management of plastics and other materials.

The first project dubbed the Ghana Circular Economy Centre was funded by Canada through the Global Affairs Canada and the second project christened Plastic Circular Economy Projects aims to establish a circular economy framework for plastics in Ghana.

Both projects, centred on the principles of circular economy are targeted at solving Ghana's plastic waste challenges in a sustainable manner.

Circular economy

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.

In this way, the life cycle of products is extended. In practice, it implies reducing waste to a minimum.

Launch

In an address at the launch of the projects on Tuesday (June 6, 2022) in Accra, the Minister of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Kwaku Afriyie said the projects were in-line with Ghana's National Plastics Management Policy (2018) which advocates for the application of the principles of circularity in plastic waste management.

He said transitioning to a circular economy will help Ghana generate environmentally-friendly jobs, reduce inequality, minimize the impact of climate change and give Ghana a competitive advantage.

Dr Afriyie was hopeful that the successful implementation of the projects would make Ghana a global leader in the transition to a circular economy.

"The implementation of these two projects will bring together a wide range of government, academia and private sector actors from across the country, throughout the Africa region and perhaps other parts of the world to work together in applying technology to address plastic pollution, waste management and efficient resource utilization," Dr Afriyie said.

"Indeed, successful implementation of these two projects will establish Ghana as the place to go to validate the just transition to Circular Economy.

"There is one particular component in the implementation of the two projects that I think requires particular mention, and that has to do with the support for Small and Medium Size Enterprises that are operating within Ghana's plastics value-chain. It is my understanding that within both projects, SMEs will be supported to build their capacity, and to scale up their operations, so that they can attract both technologies and investments that will make their businesses profitable.

He further appealed to the implementers of the projects to provide special support for the recyclers and plastic waste collectors who focus on the collection and use of orphan plastics (under-20 micron plastics).

Dr Afriyie explained that such collectors and recyclers eliminate the thin and under-20 micron plastics from the environment, particularly drainage systems and our beaches.

He also urged all Ghanaians to get involved in the fight against plastic pollution in the country.

The UNIDO Representative to Ghana and Liberia, Mr Fakhruddin Azizi said his outfit would be working closely with MESTI and the Environmental Protection Agency to successfully implement the relevant components of the projects.

He also stated that the projects would contribute to the attainment of multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

He also expressed gratitude to the government of Canada for its confidence in UNIDO for the Implementation of the Ghana Circular Economy Centre project.

The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Her Excellency Kathleen Csaba disclosed that the Ghana Circular Economy Centre project is expected to be set up in the coming months, adding that engagement with the private sector and academia will be key to the achievement of the project outcomes.

"We have a shared responsibility to preserve and make a sustainable use of natural resources for future generations to come, as natural resources are a source of livelihood for a large part of the population in Ghana," she said.

"For this reason, Canada is pleased to partner with UNIDO to increase the adoption of circular economy technologies and practices throughout the country, which will contribute to enhancing the economic prosperity and the state of the environment, particularly for the most vulnerable populations".