The first in a series of two Focus Group Discussions on raising consumers’ awareness on sustainable consumption and using various digital technology and innovation to reduce waste in Ghana has taken place in Accra.
The Discussions, which are being organised by CUTS Ghana – a research, advocacy and consumer protection organisation in collaboration with Consumer International – aim to spread awareness on sustainable consumption and promote the habit of sharing resources within communities to get people to buy less, or at least to buy in such a way that has less of a rippling environmental impact.
The discussion focused more on women as they are the principal decision-makers in household consumption, as well as being more vulnerable to unsustainable practices.
The Focus Group Discussion forms part of a host of activities to mark Green Action Week under the theme ‘Community Sharing’. Another Focus Group Discussion, community engagement and advocacy, media campaign among others are to be held in Kasoa uring the coming days.
In an address to open the Discussion in Accra, Country Director of CUTS, Appiah Kusi Adomako, opined that: “With increasing use of natural resources; air, water, and soil pollution; and the ever-growing amounts of waste generated in Accra alone, it is clear that our current way of consuming and producing waste has to change fundamentally. There is a need to intensify grassroots and community engagement, especially among women, to drum home the rippling effects of unsustainable consumptions patterns and lifestyles”.
Mr. Adomako suggested that there is need to revisit the 3 Rs concept of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, as it has the potential to reduce waste generated drastically. “This simple yet very effective waste management method has proven to be the way to go. It prevents pollution by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials, saves energy and money, reduces gas emissions that contribute to climate change, helps sustain the environment for future generations, reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators, and allows products to be used to their fullest extent,” he added.
The Forum also stressed that one way of improving people’s access to goods and services without increasing stress on the planet is to share. Sharing is, in other words, the concrete example of a more sustainable consumption culture. And, also, the sharing economy enables development and entrepreneurship.
Mr. Shadrack Nii Yarboi Yartey, the Communication Officer at CUTS Ghana, urged consumers to ditch the use of plastic bags and opt for paper or reusable bags for shopping. He advised Ghanaians to try and keep a bunch of extra bags in their cars or with them each time they go to the local market or supermarket to shop, as this has the potential to decrease amounts of waste generated.