EDITORIAL: Waste For Wealth
5/21/2012 12:35:15 PM -
The devastating effects of plastic waste on the country cannot be lost on us.
Currently, it is estimated that 1,980 tonnes of plastic waste is generated daily in the country, with 70 per cent of the waste ending up in drains and at open spaces.
Research conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) indicates that Ghana could earn GH¢1.2 million monthly if it recycles its plastic waste.
In the not-too-distant past, calls were made for plastics to be banned, while others thought plastic manufacturers and water sachet producers be levied to enable metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to use the revenue to help manage the plastic waste menace which has become an albatross around the neck of the nation.
In the heat of the debate, the Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association, in 2009, led a team of scientific and plastic waste management experts from the United Kingdom to introduce a plastic degradable technology to the Vice-President, Mr John Dramani Mahama. The technology, we were told, could help solve the country’s plastic waste menace.
Three years down the line, we are yet to realise any effective results from this technology.
It is for this reason that the Daily Graphic thinks that dealing with the plastic waste menace requires a multi-faceted and integrated approach involving all stakeholders, including the citizenry. Each one of us has a responsibility to help address the challenges posed by the plastic waste menace because we all contribute to the waste.
This explains the polluter pays policy which has made very little impact on the environment.
We welcome the nationwide campaign launched by the Vice-President to educate the public on the proper handling of plastic waste.
The Daily Graphic believes that without the practical support and responsible cooperation of every citizen, no agency will succeed in curbing the plastic waste menace.
As noted by the Vice-President, plastic waste “has become the most pernicious pollutant of our time in terms of its destruction of the soil and choking of drains”. One of the negative consequences of our choked drains by plastic waste is the flooding in the cities, with its attendant loss of lives and destruction of property.
While acknowledging the importance of the awareness campaign which seeks to change the attitude of people in the way they handle plastic waste and impress on them the need to use alternative carrier bags, we believe the country also needs the requisite regulations and policies to get the people to conform.
In a place such as South Africa, the government has enacted a law that imposes levies on shoppers or carriers of plastic bags with a minimum of 30 microns. The reason for setting a minimum level of microns is to encourage shoppers to use much heavier plastic bags which turn out to be easy to recycle.
The Daily Graphic thinks that just as the South Africans are using the levy to help keep the environment clean, we can equally do same here.
In order to sustain the campaign, the organisers are not only encouraging the public to manage the plastic waste but have also provided incentives in the form of “plastic for cash”.
The Daily Graphic thinks that waste plastics, if managed very well, will not give only cash to the people but also create wealth, as the effects of plastics on agriculture, the environment and livestock will end, thereby raising productivity in those sectors.
Yes, bring waste plastics for cash, but, ultimately, let the plastic waste campaign create wealth for all.