Oxo-biodegradable directive in force:As technical committee meets on ban of plastic below 20 microns

BY: Edmund Smith-Asante
Managing plastic waste has become a tall order in Ghana

A directive which took effect on Nov 1 has been issued to all plastic producers and importers to ensure that all products will include an oxo-biodegradable component to allow for decomposition.

According to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), an addition of an oxo-biodegradable component to plastics is bound to resolve Ghana’s plastic waste menace.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic last Monday on the directive and also to explain the putting on hold of a ban on plastics below the 20 micron density which was supposed to take effect at the same time, the head of public affairs, MESTI, Alhaji Zachariah Musah, said “All producers of plastic in the country are to use oxo-biodegradable in their production so that at a certain point, the plastic waste can decompose and Ghana will be free from plastic waste in the system.”

The directive

Alhaji Musah said the directive was arrived at between the MESTI, plastic producers and other stakeholders three months ago. “At the meeting it was agreed that from Nov 1, 2015 all flexible plastic that fall below 20 microns density will not be accepted in the country.

“It was also agreed that from Nov 1, 2015, all production of flexible plastics should have oxo-biodegradable additives so that they can decompose.

“However two weeks ago, the plastic producers association petitioned the ministry that once they are going to use the oxo-biodegradable at the end of the day, it will achieve the same purpose, meaning that whether it is below 20 microns or above 20 microns, the oxo-biodegradable can let it decompose and it will solve the waste issue.”

He said following that request, the ministry’s technical officers were looking into the issue “and whatever the outcome we will come out and address it.

“As far as the ministry is concerned, we are enforcing the directive of using oxo-biodegradable across the country and all producers must comply. Officers will go round and ensure compliance with the directive.”

Alhaji Musah stressed that while the technical committee investigated the assertion of the plastic producers in their plea, any flexible plastic that would be produced or imported would have to include the oxo-biodegradable material.