Fan Milk Ghana Limited in partnership with the Danone Ecosystem Fund, Environment 360, Women in Informal Employment Globalization and Organizing (WIEGO), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT D-lab), officially opened a plastic sorting-Centre on Wednesday at Tema New Town.
The sorting-Centre which signifies the beginning of the fight against plastic waste and livelihood improvement forms part of the integral part of the development of the”pick it” project, which is expected to collect about 25 tons of plastics monthly and turn it into resources.
Managing Director of Fan Milk Ghana Limited, Mr. Stephane Couste said the ‘pick it’ will enable the development of sustainable practices along the entire plastic value chain from generation to recycling, with the objectives to increase plastics collection rates, and improve waste pickers livelihood through innovative social and environmental solutions.
This according to him, waste pickers will be supported through management, technical, and organizational trainings to increase waste recovery rate, and increase their income, as downstream, door to door households, markets, industries and lorry stations recyclebles are collected.
Mr. Couste noted the facility which is the first phase, will be enhanced by the creation membership-based waste pickers where recyclebles will be sorted and then sold to the recycling plants.
With an increasing consumption of plastic bags and other packages in Africa, an estimation of 12, 710 tons of solid waste is generated daily in Ghana of which 14% is plastic, adding these waste represented untapped potentials economic opportunities.
He said the second phase targets 100% recovery volume of Fan Milk waste with the goal of replicating the pick it model in other communities throughout Ghana and become plastic positive by 2022.
Mayor of Tema Metropolitan Assembly (TMA), Mr. Felix Nii Anang-La said the establishment of the sorting center was timely, as the plastic menace has taken a toll of the entire metropolis, with drains and water body chocked with all forms of litter, mainly plastics.
According him, Tema metropolis generated 800 metric tons of waste daily and out of that about 26 % is plastics, adding they introduced various measures to rid the environment of filth, especially plastic waste but was unsuccessful.
” Fan Milk Ghana Limited and its partners intervention is timely and therefore come as a major relief, as it has the capacity of collecting about 25 metric tons of plastic waste every month, for us at the Tema Metropolitan Assembly, this translate into a huge reduction in terms of waste generation, and curves in very well into the Tema Restoration Agenda, which aimed to clean the environment”. He said.
Executive Director of Environment 360, a Ghana based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), disclosed Ghana losses an estimated amount of 83 million dollars, due to its inability to harness the value of recyclable materials, adding efficient waste collection system, lack of support for the waste system and others are contributing factors.
She said in order to achieve the goal of collecting more plastic waste and improving the wages of pickers, they will help community members recognize quality recycling materials, educate the community about the importance of a clean environment, and ensure the sorting Centre sustainability.
Mr. John Alexis Pwamang, Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the sorting-Centre came at the right time, because this year global attention was on plastic, as international corporation are focusing on eradicating plastic waste.
He applauded Fan Milk and partners for taking the lead for putting up the sorting Centre, which will help in reducing and recycling plastic waste.
Mr. Pwamang indicated the establishment of the sorting Centre will address some aspect of the section 9 of Legislative Instrument (LI) 2250 on take back systems and the EPA is keen to learn lessons from its implementation.
“We keep talking about the LI 2250 which requires that companies which produce beverages and bottled water should take back their containers that come out from their companies, after they have been used”. Saying the sorting Centre formed part and also contributing to the policy.
Mr. Karim Saagbul, Waste Picker Organizer of WIEGO said the project positively contributed to the livelihoods of men and women working in the communities as informal waste collectors, especially in Tema New Town and Kpone land filled site.
He said any approach to plastic waste management and poor waste management in general, will require a concerted effort by all stakeholders, because it is a source of worry.
Mr. Karim called for the recognition, respect and support for waste pickers in paramount to their activities in the communities.