Accra April 7, GNA - Plastic waste manufacturers and importers were on Thursday challenged to provide alternative ways for disposing waste or face a temporarily ban on plastic manufacturing and importation. Mr Stanley Adjiri Blankson, Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, who gave the warning, explained that plastic manufacturers and importers had an alternative of using biodegradable materials that were environmentally friendly.
In a discussion with the management of City Waste Management Company on the menace caused by the plastic bags, the Mayor of Accra expressed concern about the problem and said he would meet with Members of the Assembly to take a final decision on plastic manufacturing and importation.
He said: "AMA cannot stop plastic companies from producing but can stop people from using plastic in the City."
Mr Blankson said currently plastic waste had taken over every space in the City and gave an example that even the fishermen end up catching more plastic from the sea instead of fish.
He called on the public to cooperate with the AMA in enforcing its byelaws and said "sanity must prevail in the city". Mr Blankson commended the Company for taking the initiative to collect and recycle plastic waste.
Mr Divine Otoo, Chairman of the National Plastic Waste Management Taskforce, however, said banning the use of plastic in Ghana would was not a pleasant option to consider.
"Sachet water producers alone use an estimated volume of 100 tonnes of plastic containers per day for their activities and the industries employ not less than 5,000 people not to mention its contribution to the national purse in the form of taxes," he said.
Mr Otoo said the National Plastic Waste Management Taskforce had put in placed some measures to handle the problem in Accra.
Rubbish containers, he said, had been placed at 37 Trotro stations, Tema Station, Kaneshie Methodists and James Town Sub-Metro and plans were far advanced to place more of such containers at vantage points in the Metropolis.
Other measures the Taskforce was taking, included exporting of the waste as the volume of plastic waste being generated in the country far exceeded the capacity of recycling companies.
"We are negotiating with some major recycling companies in China and America to take in our waste while we expand the capacity of the local recyclers," he said.
Mr Otoo urged the public to learn to be environmentally friendly and change their attitude towards plastic waste disposal.
Mr Franklin Ankrah, Managing Director of City Waste Management Company, said the Company would link up with some nongovernmental oraganisations and employ the disabled to work at the collection point. He said apart from water sachet, other plastic materials would be collected and recycled and encouraged people to take interest in the project. Eight hundred cedis would be paid for a kilo of plastic waste.