Environment Minister engages plastic waste collectors toward sustainable management

Environment Minister engages plastic waste collectors toward sustainable management

As part of efforts to sustainably manage plastic waste in the country, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, has toured some plastic recycling facilities in Accra to interact with recyclers, and particularly waste collectors, to gain firsthand information on challenges associated with their activities.

This is to better position the ministry’s role in assisting the collectors’ effort to address plastic waste pollution.

The tour is also to foster partnerships and share ideas on what sound policies and regulatory frameworks government can enact to promote environmentally-friendly practices.

“I came here specifically to listen to you so that we can address the under 20-micron issues. Also, on capacity issues, how we can expand your ability to pick more. And thirdly, any other issue that you think will help us in this circular economy module that we are building. One thing is certain – I am very ready to address this problem head-on.

“The statistics tell me that we are doing just about 25 percent and there are huge tonnes of plastic out there. There are other plastics that the market (collectors and recyclers) does not want, so what incentive can be given, policy-wise, so that we don’t find them around? That is why we are here to school ourselves,” the sector minister said while addressing collectors.

He therefore mentioned that the environment ministry in partnership with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development (MLGDRD) and other appropriate authorities will engage in an extensive conversation to curb challenges faced by the sector.

“We intend to visit the assemblies to see their perspective, and we will call for brainstorming sessions to develop and devise a plan that can let us solve these plastic problems – both qualitative and quantitative-wise,” he said.

Dr. Afriyie commended the plastic waste collectors for helping the country address one of its challenges – indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste – and assured them of their commitment toward assisting them.

“The ministry has received several complaints from the Plastic Waste Collectors Association on the challenges they encounter when transporting the plastic to recycling facilities. We are also aware of the lack of logistics challenges, as well as inadequate recycling companies to buy the plastic. I must say that government will do everything possible to assist the industry” he said.

The ministry visited Spaceplast Company Limited – a recycling facility, Kpone landfill sites, and also engaged with the La Plastic Collectors Association.

For his part, the spokesperson of the Plastic Waste Collectors Association, Mr. Elvis Oppong, said his outfit is excited about MESTI’s willingness to help, as he believes the association can increase the collection of plastic wastes if government supports them.

He said government can support by providing them with soft loans, and also with the necessary equipment used in collecting the plastic waste.

Mr. Oppong also said one thing government must work on is the interruption of police officers, who interfere with the association’s activities as they transport the collected plastics to recycling companies.

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