The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has expressed dissatisfaction at the current low recycling rate of plastic waste in the country.
Ghana currently recycles just two (2) percent of the total plastic waste generated by households and businesses, a situation that he noted is not enough to combat the plastic waste pollution menace the country is faced with.
“The rate of recycling is low, and this provides opportunities for the establishment of collection systems,” Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said.
The sector minister was speaking at a gathering for the commemoration of 2018 World Environment Day celebrations in Accra, held under the theme ‘Beat Plastic Pollution: Reduce, Re-use, Recycle’.
Since 1974, June 5 has been adopted by the United Nations and celebrated across the world to raise awareness on current and emerging environmental issues such as pollution, overpopulation, biodiversity conservation, and global warming among others.
It is estimated that each year more than 8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least US$8billion in damage to marine ecosystems.
Data available also show that, if present trends continue, by 2050 the oceans will have more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
In his address, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng indicated government’s commitment to implementing the National Plastic Policy to regulate sustainable management of plastic waste in the country.
The minister indicated that the approach presents a chance to improve environmental conditions; to drive economic development through innovation; and to provide social benefits through job-creation through labour-intensive collection, sorting and recycling.
He said: “The National Plastics Policy, which has already been drafted, combines a broad spectrum of measures. It calls for environmental education and awareness creation, turning plastic waste into resources for value addition, manufacture/importation of Oxobio-degradable plastics, among others.”
Recognising the efforts of some industry stakeholders, the minister called on all to join forces to change attitudes toward effective plastic management and pollution reduction in Ghana.
In a speech read on behalf of the UN Resident Representative, Louis Kuupen who is the UNDP Assistant Country Director, lauded government’s commitment to protect the environment and assured of the United Nations in Ghana’s support
“This approach is in line with the global Sustainable Development Agenda, which calls for policy coherence to solve multi-faceted development challenges – like expanding industry and diversifying the economy while at the same time protecting the environment. We therefore look forward to finalisation of the Policy and, more importantly, to its implementation.
“In support of this new programme, I am happy to inform you that UNDP Ghana has just received seed funding for a new project that aims to create a digital platform to connect all stakeholders in the waste management chain and address the current information, coordination and knowledge gaps in waste management,” Mr. Kuupen added.