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Ghana’s Contribution to Plastic Waste Can Be Reduced with the Right Investment

Ghana’s Contribution to Plastic Waste Can Be Reduced with the Right Investment
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About 2.58 million metric tonnes of uncooked plastics are imported into Ghana yearly of which about 73 % of this successfully finally ends up as waste. Credit score: Credit score: Albert Oppong-Ansah/IPS

ACCRA, Dec 21 2018 (IPS) – Twelve-year-old Naa Adjeley lives in Glefe, a waterlogged space that’s one in every of the largest slums alongside the west coast of Accra, Ghana. The sixth grade scholar, his mother and father and three siblings use 30 single-use plastic luggage per day for breakfast.

Once they end consuming the balls of ‘kenkey’, fried mackerel, and pepper sauce, the plastic luggage that the meals was individually wrapped in are dumped into the river that runs by way of the slum, ultimately ending up in the ocean, which lies a mere 50 metres from their residence.

In a single month, this household alone contributes over 900 items of single-use plastics to the 5 trillion items of microplastic in the ocean. It’s because their group of over 1,500 households, which sits on a wetlands, doesn’t have a waste disposal system.

So assuming that their neighbours additionally dump their waste into the river and that they eat comparable quantities of plastics per day, this implies they add over 1.three million items of single-use plastics to the sea every month.

The state of affairs is the similar in all the different settlements which might be shut to degraded lagoons round the ocean.

So far, Accra has some 265 casual settlementss, together with Chorkor, James city, Osu, Labadi, Teshie, Korlegonor, Opetequaye, Agege and Previous Fadama.

With all of those being in several levels of improvement, in accordance to a current research by the Individuals’s Dialogue on Human Settlements (PD) Ghana, a non-governmental organisation. Professor Alfred Oteng-Yeboah, Chair of the Ghana Nationwide Biodiversity Committee, recollects that 10 years in the past meals was packaged with leaves and ladies went to the market with woven baskets or cotton luggage.

“Now because of civilisation, every food item or prepared food bought in this country is first wrapped in a single-use plastic and then is kept in plastic carrier bags. If Accra has a population of over 2.6 million and everyone uses a single plastic every day, just calculate how much plastic waste is generated per day,” he advised IPS.

About 2.58 million metric tonnes of uncooked plastics are imported into Ghana yearly, of which 73 % successfully finally ends up as waste, whereas solely 19 % is re-used, in accordance to the nation’s Environmental Safety Company.

Sadly, lower than zero.1 % of the waste is recycled, which means all the plastic waste generated results in the setting.

John Pwamang, Government Director of the Environmental Safety Company, is frightened about the discharge of plastics into the numerous lagoons, and finally in the sea. “The reckless manner in which we throw away waste has become the most insidious threat to the ocean today,” he advised IPS.

“We have to keep reminding ourselves that we are fast reaching the point where there will literally be more plastics in the sea than fish. Our fishermen will agree with me as they already are experiencing it. They always have more plastics than fish in their trawls. I am inclined to believe that the situation in Ghana may be more dire than it would appear,” he stated.

Dr Kofi Okyere, a Senior Lecturer at the Cape Coast College, says lagoons are house to numerous species. There are 90 lagoons and 10 estuaries with their related marshes and mangrove swamps alongside Ghana’s 550-km shoreline stretch.

“Although I cannot put precise statistical figures, most of the lagoons, especially those located in urban areas, have been heavily polluted within the last decade or two. The pollutants are largely domestic and industrial effluent discharge, sewage, plastics, aerosol cans and other solid wastes, and heavy metal contaminants (lead, mercury, arsenic, etc.) from industrial activities,” he informed IPS.

Nelson Boateng, Chief Government Director of Nelplast Ghana Restricted, is one in every of a gaggle of individuals and corporations which are discovering various makes use of for plastic waste. He’s holding a paving brick constructed from recycled plastic. Credit score: Albert Oppong-Ansah/IPS

Nevertheless, whereas numerous Ghanaians are nonetheless utilizing plastic, and discarding it, there are a couple of individuals and organisations which might be placing the plastic to higher use.

Nelson Boateng, Chief Government Director of Nelplast Ghana restricted, started moulding and creating pavement blocks from plastic in 2015.

The corporate makes use of 70 % sand and 30 % plastic to manufacture the pavement blocks, however the ratio of the two supplies modifications relying on the type of pavement challenge.

Strolling IPS via the course of in an interview, he explains the plastic waste is combined with sand and brought via a melting course of, after which the pavement slab is prepared.

“So far we have paved many important areas, including residential areas, the premises of the Action Chapel, the frontage of Ghana’s Ministry of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation and some walkways in the country.”

“The advantage of plastic pavement blocks compared to the conventional cement blocks is that it is 30 percent cheaper, it does not break, there is no green algae growth, it does not fade. A square metre of our plastic paves cost GHC 33 (6.9 dollars) while the concrete cost 98 (20.20 dollars) I am doing this because I love the environment and I did all this on my own to beat plastic,” he stated.

At present, Boateng is recycling 2,000 kilos of plastic waste, however his manufacturing unit, which is located on a one-acre piece of land at the Ashaiman Municipal Meeting, has the capability to produce 200,000 plastic pavement blocks.

Of the over 500 waste pickers who promote plastics to Boateng, 60 % are ladies who depend upon this as their livelihood. With the worth of a kilo being 10 US cents ladies make a minimal of 10.40 dollars per sale.

Ashietey Okaiko, 34, a single mom and plastic picker of Nelplast Ghana restricted, confirmed to IPS that she earns 31 dollars on common per sale, and that’s what she makes use of to deal with her household.

“Because people now know that plastic waste is valuable, many women who are now employed are picking plastics. The company needs support to be able to buy more because sometimes when we send it they do not buy,” she says.

Boateng said that pickers might gather up to the tune of 10,000 kilograms a day, saying, “I feel bad telling them I cannot pay due to financial constraints.”

Comparable to Boateng’s innovation is the efforts of the Ghana Recycling Initiative by Personal Enterprises (GRIPE), an industry-led coalition beneath the auspices of the Affiliation of Ghana Industries (AGI), a non-governmental organisation, that’s manufacturing modified constructing blocks out of plastic.

The initiative, carried out in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Analysis, is pending certification by the Ghana Normal Authority for business use.

Ama Amoah, Regional Company Communications and Public Affairs Supervisor at Nestle, a number one member of GRIPE, informed IPS that the group has completed group and faculties schooling and consciousness campaigns on correct waste administration practices for plastics.

There are additionally different innovators resembling Seth Quansah, who runs Alchemy Various Power, which is changing plastic waste and tires by way of internationally accepted and environmentally sound processes into hydrocarbon power, primarily diesel-grade fuels.

By means of the Ghana Local weather Improvements Centre, and Denmark and the Netherlands via the World Financial institution, Quansah has acquired mentorship and is getting ready to increase the firm.

Ghana’s Minister of Finance and Financial Planning, Ken Ofori Atta, says the Ministry of Setting, Science Know-how and Innovation (MESTI) is in the means of finalising a brand new Nationwide Plastic Waste Coverage, which can concentrate on methods to promote discount, reuse, and recycling.

However Helen La Trobe, an environmental volunteer in Ghana, tells IPS, “African industry should seek innovative approaches to reduce plastic use and plastic waste in all its forms by replacing plastic with other innovative products and reducing, reusing and recycling where replacing is not currently possible.”

She additionally needs the authorities to present enough public garbage bins at trotro stops (bus stops) and markets to have these often emptied.

She says plastic is indestructible and breaks into smaller and smaller elements, referred to as microplastics, however it takes greater than 500 years to utterly disappear. 

In accordance to Trobe, microplastics and microbeads, tiny polyethylene plastic added to well being and wonder merchandise reminiscent of some pores and skin cleansers and toothpaste, take in toxins and industrial chemical compounds from the surroundings. As fish and different marine life ingest tiny items of plastic, the toxins and chemical compounds enter their tissue after which the meals chain, which finally have an effect on people.  

Whereas Boateng doesn’t consider that manufacturing of plastic is an issue, however that authorities want to help innovators and there’s a want for a behavioural change, he provides, “The more the support, the cleaner the environment. If we are serious of ridding the country and the sea of plastics this is the way forward. When people go to the beach to clean up, the waste ends ups in the land field site, which is still in the environment.”

 

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