Accra, Feb. 8, GNA - Dr Gheysika Agambilla, Deputy Minister of Environment and Science, on Wednesday drew the attention of participants at a waste management workshop to decorations made out of plastic waste at the hall of Osu Presbyterian Church and declared, "There is beauty in waste if well managed".
The forecourt of the Osu Presby Church was decorated with a banner made from plastic water sachet with inscription "Inter-Faith Waste", the name for groupings concerned with waste management. Other wall hangings which have inscriptions such as "I love Ghana, plastic is not only waste" and flowers made from water sachet, yoghurt and black plastics, painted in blue and yellow hang from one corner to another.
Dr Agambilla, who was speaking at the opening of a two-day workshop dubbed "Inter-Faith Waste Management Initiative" which brought together stakeholders responsible for enforcing environmental byelaws and the media, said he did not believe there was waste problem but rather peoples problem that had to do with attitude.
Present at the opening ceremony were the Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Mr Charles Bintim, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr Stanley Agyiri Blankson, Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Leaders of religious organizations and the Chairman for the occasion, Okyehene, Osagyfo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who is also the Chairman of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Board. At an exhibition, participants displayed artistic products including furniture made from yoghurt plastic and other materials like sandals, bags and beads made from plastics
Dr Agambilla said: "People created the waste and people have to clean it. There should be an eleventh commandment, which says:"Thou shall not litter."
Speaking on the theme "Cleanliness is next to Godliness" he said God gave the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve and commanded them to dress it and keep it.
"Likewise God has given us Ghana to dress and keep it and the rate of environmental destruction depended on the enterprise in maintaining their livelihood, habit and traditions."
The Deputy Environmental Minister said religion was to correct such environmental destruction and enhance the lives of the people within the bounds as set for the use of their environmental endowment. Mr Affail Money, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Journalists Association, urged the media to sharpen their advocacy tool and tap their influence on the policy landscape to get the Government and her agencies to address environmental issue.
"It would serve very little purpose to criticise the shameful practice of urinating or even defecating at unauthorised places when the necessary facilities are lacking," he said.
He called for support for the media in terms of financial and logistic support and urged the Assemblies to budget for media sensitisation programmes since media houses were also in business. The Right Reverend Dr Paul Kofi Fynn, Chairman of the Christian Council of Ghana and Chairman of the Inter-Faith Waste Management Initiative, reading a communiqu=E9 urged religious bodies to intensify education and awareness creation on proper waste management practices among members of the entire community.
He said parents and teachers must educate the children both at home and school about waste management and children should impart what they learnt from school to their parents and peers.
"Waste management is a collective responsibility of all well meaning Ghanaians and, therefore, should not be left to the Government alone...media and especially those companies which by the very nature of their activities are generating tons of waste, should join in the crusade to rid the towns and cities of filth," Rev Fynn said.