Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE) have urged government to make it a priority of establishing plastic waste recycling plant in each district to be part of government’s one district one factory initiative.
This, is to help reduce the use of plastic waste which has engulfed the streets, communities and beaches along the coastal areas in the country.
Government, should also fast track the processes of banning plastic bags and re-introduce the use of paper bags which can decompose easily.
“If the paper bags are to be introduced then, all Multi Paper Sack companies which have folded up should be encouraged to be in operations and this, can also create an avenue for employment opportunity”, Mr. Kingsley Nana Boadu, Executive Director of Journalists for Responsible Fisheries and Environment (JRFE) said.
He was speaking in an interview with members of JRFE after a visit to Moree and Elmina beaches in the Central Region as part of celebrations for the “World Oceans Day” in Cape Coast.
The World Oceans Day had the theme “encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter”.
The local theme by JRFE in collaboration with Earth Journalism Network was “saving the ocean; our collective responsibility”.
The day, was to encourage the individual, especially those along the coastal areas to resolve to work towards promoting our oceans from pollution since everyone, owe it a duty to generations to protect marine stocks”.
Mr. Boadu, urged the individual to reduce the use of polythene bags for a clean environment. “Let us go back to the good old days of using basket to buy food stuffs and other items from the market and also encourage food vendors to use the natural leaves known in Fante and Twi languages respectively as ‘ahataw/ahaban’ in serving food.
A visit to Etuei and Emfanu beach at Moree in the C/R
At these beaches, rubbers of sachet water, black polythene bags and some plastic bottles were scattered all over the shore.
According to Kwamina Essoun, a fisherman, some of the households around also throw their rubbish along the beaches whilst others defecate into plastic bags and throw them into the sea; “If you should plead with them not to do so, they will insult and call you all kinds of names”.
He pointed out that there are no refuse containers along the beaches and appealed to the district assemblies and organizations to provide them with some dustbins to be placed at vantage points to ensure sanity.
Emmanuel Awortwe also a fisherman mentioned that some of the plastics thrown into the sea disturbs them during fishing explaining that “sometimes, when we cast our net to catch fish, there will be a lot plastic bags in the net”.
“It takes about three hours for us to get it out from the net and this, waste a lot of time” he added.
He said certain bye-laws should be introduced by the various district assemblies to deter people from throwing plastic indiscriminately.
He pointed out banning the industrial trawlers has in a small way contributed to improving fish catch in the area.
He suggested that closed season which has been discussed in certain circles that it should be in January and February should rather be, between March to April since the bumper season is in August.
“We will appeal to government to find an alternative livelihood for us during the closed season” he added.
Nana Mensah Bonsu, Secretary of the Ghana National Canoe Fishermen Council, Central Region branch advised fishermen to use the appropriate materials for fishing.
He said light used in fishing does not help the juvenile fishes to grow and called on fisher folks to stop the practice of throwing plastic along the shore of the sea.
He called on district assemblies to promulgate bye-laws that will deter people from throwing plastic indiscriminately.