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GHANA MUST LEARN HOW TO MANAGE PLASTIC WASTE, NOT BAN IT: FRIMPONG BOATENG

Health & Lifestyle

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, says the government probably will not ban the use of plastics in Ghana in the short term, as it will not be in the country’s best interest.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, says the government probably will not ban the use of plastics in Ghana in the short term, as it will not be in the country’s best interest.

He explained that even though plastics pose a major environmental threat, a ban would not be prudent because Ghanaian citizens depend heavily on them.

It is against this backdrop, he said, that the final draft of the Plastic Management Policy, together with an implementation plan, has been submitted to cabinet for approval.

Management

Addressing journalists at a Meet the Press gathering yesterday in Accra, Professor Frimpong-Boateng said that Ghana rather needs a proper plastic waste management strategy which will cut down drastically on plastic waste.

“Years ago, we were under pressure to ban plastics in Ghana because certain countries in Africa had banned plastics … [But] we think that a wholesale ban will not be in the interest of Ghana because plastics are used everywhere.
“So, I don’t think it will be prudent for Ghana to, at this particular time, ban something like sachet water because a lot of people depend on it,” he said.

“Plastics are not bad; therefore, we should learn how to manage plastics. When we do that, it will be a good thing for us. So, let’s look at the life cycle of plastics before we take a decision,” he said.

Phase out

The Minister said Kenya and Tanzania are among 60 countries which have banned or partly banned single-use plastic bags.

They have also made a formal commitment to phase out single-use, non-biodegradable plastics.

The non-biodegradable plastics have been identified by the United Nations as one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.
Of the nine billion tonnes of plastic the world has produced, only 9 per cent has been recycled, the UN estimates.

Modules

The Minister further said that the policy is built on five focal areas. These are to encourage behavioural change towards sustainable plastics management, to facilitate strategic planning and cross-sectorial collaboration, to accelerate innovation and to transition towards a circular economy.

It is also intended to deploy means for resource mobilisation and to support good governance, inclusiveness and shared accountability.

“The policy has two components,” Professor Frimpong-Boateng told media representatives present at the meeting. “We have a resource secretariat, which will be run by people from my ministry and the Sanitation and Local Government Ministries, and the private sector in plastic manufacturers and users.

“They will make sure that, at every point in time, it will be monitored for steps to be taken.”

Plastic levy

The Minister also hinted that the government will soon introduce a plastic levy as a measure to reduce the quantity of plastic on the market and in our waste, at the same time generating income for the government.

He said that an account has been created at Bank of Ghana.

“With this, people who use plastics will be levied and that small amount of money will be deposited in this account, so that it can be used for what we want to do, such as plastic recycling,” he said.