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21.05.2005 General News

Bill in offing to tackle plastic waste menace

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Accra, May 21, GNA - The Ministry of Environment and Science (MES) and three other Ministries are to put up a bill to regulate the deposit of litter including plastic waste that has bedevilled the hygienic conditions of the environment.

The other Ministries are the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, the Ministry of Tourism and Modernisation of the Capital City and the Ministry of Health.

Mr Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science in a speech read for her at the forum on plastic waste management in Accra said the Ministry would endeavour to complement the efforts of other government and private organisations to ensure sustainable management of plastic waste in the country.

The forum, organised by the Central University College (CUC) Branch of the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) was on the theme: Creativity in Rubber Waste Management."

Ms Churcher said a move towards clean technologies, recovery and recycling and less wasteful processes had been identified as a solution towards effective management of waste in Ghana. She noted that currently the production and indiscriminate disposal of plastics and their harmful effects on the environment assumed alarming proportions.

Managing waste in a sustainable manner calls for an all-inclusive strategy involving government and the private sector, she said. The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Mr Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, expressed worry about the filth and squalor that had engulfed the city and that indiscipline was at the core of the problem.

He debunked speculations that the current decongestion exercise was meant to replace his relations or acquaintances at the positions of the displaced hawkers, adding, "the exercise was done with the full backing of the 103 members of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly."

Mr Blankson expressed worry about the massive unsanitary conditions along the beaches of Accra and said the disposal of filth generated in the city costs the Authority 2.3 billion cedis a month.

The Mayor said remnants of sachet water and waste plastic bags were a menace to the society and it was to get the producers of the sachet water that had been elusive to register with AMA that a temporary ban would be placed on the production of sachet water on June 1 2005.

Sachet water producers are expected to contribute 450 million cedis monthly towards waste disposal in the city and the announcement of the anticipated ban was compelling the sachet water producers to come forward to register.

Mr Blankson said AMA was seeking a court order for the rearing of pigs to stop at the beaches.

Reverend Joe Ghartey, Dean Elect of the CUC School of Theology said dealing with the plastic waste problem must go beyond cosmetic solutions.

He called on the reduction in the use of plastic materials in favour of paper, adding that the era of the sanitary inspectors must be revisited.

Mr Maxwell Gakpo, President of SIFE - Ghana, advocated education segregation of waste products and increase in the workforce of sanitary inspectors to address plastic waste problems.

Dr Ivy Drafor, said CUC branch of the SIFE was currently engaged in a project, called the "Zero Waste Project," that emphasised the segregation of waste as a means of dealing effectively with the plastic waste menace.

It has provided garbage bins to the residents in the Mataheko neighbourhood in addition to education of the disposal of plastic waste as well as periodically going on plastic waste collection exercises.

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