‘Sustainable plastic waste management policy is gov’t top priority’

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI) has said sustainable management of plastics and plastic waste is a top priority of government.

Sector Minister, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng addressing a stakeholder forum in Accra said: “We are aware of the terrible effects of plastic waste. MESTI has decided to make the sustainable management of plastics and plastic waste a top priority of the current administration.”

Speaking under the topic: ‘Sustainable Management of Plastic Waste in Ghana as a resource – challenges and opportunities,’ he said: “We have to recognise the benefits of plastics, but also the drawbacks that accompany their inappropriate use.

“We have to address waste avoidance, improve waste collection and promote recycling as part of a new of plastic culture.”

The workshop was aimed at discussing the first draft version of a National Plastics Management Policy currently under development by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

The Minister indicated that the approach presents a chance for a triple-win: 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.

The forum which was in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) with the support from the State Chancellery of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia.

The forum brought together policy makers, plastic producers, waste management service providers, waste recycling companies, NGOs and academia among several others.

Concerns have been raised about plastics becoming an integral part of people’s daily lives. Unfortunately, after use, the robustness of plastics turns into a terrible disadvantage for society.

The littering of plastic bags and plastic packaging in on the environment is obvious everywhere and its’ devastating effects are felt every day. Clogged drains lead to flooding with resulting loss of lives, destruction of property and reduced productivity, not to mention the creation of breeding grounds for mosquitos, rats and other rodents.

Most of the littered plastics end up in the sea, and plastics takes hundreds of years to discompose in the ocean. As a result, sea animals die frequently, as they often mistake pieces of plastic floating in the ocean for food.

The National Plastics Management Policy combines a broad spectrum of measures. It calls for environmental education and creation of awareness, turning plastic waste into a resource for value addition, and using sustainable chemistries as a tool for spearheading innovation and economic development.

Mr. Alan Walsch, Country Director for GIZ in Ghana, stressed the importance of the Ghanaian drive and initiative.

“It seems that we have reached a tipping point with the magnitude of plastic waste on land and in the oceans, and this forces us to rethink worldwide the current patterns of plastics production and consumption”.

As part of this collaboration, a delegation of Ghanaian decision makers and stakeholders will be offered opportunity to discuss different strategies for plastic waste management with industry stakeholders during a visit to Germany.

As a provider of international cooperation services for sustainable development and international education work, GIZ is dedicated to building a future worth living around the world.

GIZ has over 50 years of experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security.

The diverse expertise of our federal enterprise is in demand around the globe, with the German Government, European Union institutions, the United Nations, the private sector and governments of other countries all benefiting from our services.

We work with businesses, civil society actors and research institutions, fostering successful interaction between development policy and other policy fields and areas of activity. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is our main commissioning party.

Currently, GIZ promotes sustainable development in Ghana via 56 programmes and projects. Our activities cover currently three priority areas: Agriculture, Governance and Sustainable Economic Development. Additionally, our portfolio extends to other areas such as peace and security, renewable energy and climate and environment.

Another focus of GIZ’s work is linking business interests with development-policy goals. Most of the programmes and projects we support in Ghana have successfully brought together national and international private companies, the public sector, and civil society groups to collaborate on development initiatives.