Accra, March 15, GNA - Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Minister of the Interior, on Tuesday asked all stakeholders in the environment sector to come together to evolve a holistic programme for managing plastic waste in the country.
"The call goes especially to the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, NGOs, private industrial and commercial concerns, as well as petty retailers or traders, hawkers and the individual citizens and residents," he said at a durbar to mark this year's International Civil Defence Organisation (ICDO) Day.
Papa Owusu-Ankomah said there had been too much talk about what to do about plastic wastes and gave the assurance that government would take a decision shortly on the issue.
NADMO organized the event to create public awareness about the need to avoid polluting the environment with plastic waste. It was under the theme "Civil Defence and Protection of the Environment".
The ICDO is a worldwide inter-governmental organization committed to organizing and mobilizing civil structures for hazards and disaster prevention, response, emergency and post-disaster reconstruction. Papa Owusu-Ankomah said it was cheaper to prevent disasters from occurring than managing them after the event, as such resources saved could be used for other development agenda.
He said indiscriminate disposals of plastic sheets and bags were the primary cause of most of the flooding in Accra, and government would not allow this state of affairs to continue.
"The days of exaltation are over. The time to act is now and nothing will disrupt our attention of taking the right decision to avoid future disaster," he said.
Papa Owusu-Amkomah called for a concerted action by all stakeholders whose roles and responsibilities had to be properly identified to ensure implementation of whatever programme was developed. Mr Ben Brown, Greater Accra Regional Coordinator, NADMO, said ICDO days were occasions for the identification, motivation and mobilization of the collaborating agencies to ensure effectively co-ordinated efforts for disaster prevention.
He said when the issue of plastic menace first came up, they did not know that it would become national disaster problem and stressed the need for intensive public education to teach people how to manage the waste.
Mrs Charlotte Anumel, President of the National Association of Sachet Water Producers, said the plastic menace was attitudinal. She suggested to the Minister of Education and Sports to re-introduce personal hygiene in public schools on neatness. "Those days when our teachers inspected our nails and underwear to ensure that we kept short nails and clean underwear helped us to be more conscious about our personal hygiene and our environment even as we became adults," she said.
Mrs Anumel pledged the support of the Association to assist the Accra Metropolitan Assembly to solve waste management problems in the metropolis.