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14.07.2004 Regional News

NGO organises mass picking of plastic wastes

By GNA

Accra, July 14, GNA- Mr. John Napoleon Gbolonyo, a Senior Research Scientist with the Ministry of Environment and Science, on Wednesday called for a comprehensive policy that would mandate existing plastic manufacturing companies to recycle their used products at subsidised rates.

He said though recycling was very expensive, companies could be motivated to recycle the plastic if they were given soft loans and other tax exemptions so as to save the environment from pollution. Mr Gbolonyo said this during a mass picking of plastic waste in some selected communities in Accra, including Kawokudi, Tudu, Palladium and Mamprobi.

The programme was organised by of VAN-AGAR Services Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Science while Standard Water, Key Publications and SPD Concrete Programmes sponsored it.

Mr Gbolonyo called on the public to stop indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste, saying since plastic was non-degradable, its effect, on the environment could be disastrous.

He said government in its quest for proper disposal of plastic waste, made provision for recycling in the 2004 budget, but this was not being fully utilised.

Mr Gbolonyo called on private companies to explore an area of recycling such waste plastics to be used as raw materials for other local products.

He suggested the institution of a monthly environmental day in which the whole country would be tasked with "total house cleaning" to rid the communities of filth.

Ms Esther Vanderpuye, Founder of VAN-ARGAR, said she was moved to take the initiative after realising the amount of filth, choked gutters and mosquitoes in densely populated communities in the capital. "The programme, which was launched seven years ago by the Ministry of Trade, has the backing of a task force which sees to the collection of plastic waste", she said.

Ms. Vanderpuye, a caterer by profession, said the Organisation had 35 collection points with about 25 volunteers at each point to support the collection of the plastic waste.

She appealed to local and private companies to support their efforts to rid the city of filth and urged the public to act responsibly and expose persons who violated the laws and littered the city.

Mr Divine Otto, Managing Director of Standard Water, said the use of NGOs such as VAN-AGAR was one of the strategies adopted by the Task Force to rid cities of plastic waste. However, he said, "their efforts would be in vain if the communities do not respond."

He said waste plastics needed to be properly disposed of and "this is where we are appealing to government to encourage and support local industries to recycle."

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