Environment Ministry initiates effective waste management policy

BY: Samuel Doe. Ablordeppey
Environment  Ministry initiates  effective waste management policy
Environment Ministry initiates effective waste management policy

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has completed a draft policy framework for the effective coordination of waste management efforts in the country.

The Special Advisor to the sector minister, Mr Oliver Tommy Boachie, who disclosed this to the Daily Graphic in Bonn, Germany yesterday, said a plan and tools for implementation were also being developed in collaboration with some development partners to ensure a well-coordinated waste management system in the country, such as plastic waste recycling.

Mr Boachie and the acting Chief Director of MESTI, Mrs Levina Korama Owusu, are leading a 20-member delegation of Ghanaians in the plastic waste management value chain to a five-day study tour in Germany to learn about the models and efforts the city of Bonn and the North Rhine Westaphalia are implementing in that sector.

He explained that the environment and technology sector deemed a coordinated plastic waste management system a critical framework to ensure that various interventions by individuals and companies in plastic waste management yielded sustainable results.

“In Ghana now, we have those who are adding plastic waste to sand to make pavement blocks; we have an individual who produces diesel out of plastic waste. But they are doing these with little coordination and without sustainable policies, so they remain isolated cases and will not yield the best results,” Mr Boachie stressed.

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Study tour

The study tour is part of a project MESTI is undertaking with the support of the German government through its international development agency, GIZ.

The delegation, made up of a fair representation of the plastic waste value chain actors, include officials from MESTI, private waste management companies, a plastic chemical production company, PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) user companies, municipal assemblies, academia and civil society.

Plastic waste project

The Sustainable Management of Plastic Waste in Ghana project took off in January this year with a sensitisation programme and the study tour is expected to build the capacity of players in the value chain on best practices in Germany, especially the business models that exist.

Upon return, the next phase of the project will be the selection of cities to pilot the lessons on how to use technology to manage plastic waste.
Accra and Kumasi are being considered for the pilot.

“We anticipate that the policy will be completed by the end of 2018, and laid before Parliament for passage into law. We are also working with international organisations to ensure partnerships and collaboration in the management of waste, especially ocean waste,” Mr Boachie said.

Private sector perspective

A member of the delegation, Mr William Stanley-Owusu, the Chief Executive Officer of a waste management company, J. Stanley-Owusu Company Ltd, noted that the study brought home the need to create public awareness on waste separation at source.

“The focus for me should be our ability to separate our organic waste from our waste stream. With this, we’ll have cleaner and non-contaminated materials that will justify a business model for waste recycling,” he said.

The Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager of Voltic (Gh) Ltd, Mrs Joyce Mateko Sackitey Ahiadorme, stated that clearly, plastic waste management was a shared responsibility and not just the burden of the government.

“For Germany, it has taken them about 40 years to get their recycling of waste right. They have also been able to incentivise the private sector for them to collect waste and find recycling attractive and the knowledge base of their citizens is quite high.”

Mrs Ahiadorme, therefore, called for a collaboration among stakeholders to foster an effective ecosystem in the management of waste, particularly plastic waste recycling to ensure protection of the environment, businesses, while creating jobs and incomes for people.