Veep calls for joint action to address plastic menace
Vice President John Dramani Mahama on Monday called on African leaders to rise up and join hands to address the plastic waste menace that had bedeviled African cities.
“Plastic waste would continue to be a major cause of flooding in our cities and there is the need for us as leaders to rise up and do something immediately to ensure that the cities were developed”, he emphasized.
Vice President Mahama made the call in Accra when he addressed a stakeholders’ forum on the green industry and technologically based project, which is to establish a BioTech Centre in West Africa with the headquarters in Ghana.
The “Ghana Green Technology Park” project is a Malaysian investor’s invention of using sugar cane husk and other agricultural waste to produce plastics, which would decompose into organic manure after a short period.
The “Africa2Green” International is a Ghanaian company affiliated to “Return2Green” International and committed to distributing and marketing as well as replacing non-biodegradable and toxic products, including disposable products.
Vice President Mahama said “All of us should become conscious about our negative acts on the environment so that we fight the plastic menace collectively.”
He said there was the need for West Africa to become the hub of spreading biodegradable materials, which are environmentally friendly so that the sub-region becomes free of plastic waste so as to replicate the technology in other parts of Africa.
He assured the investors that they would never lack the raw material in any part of Africa particularly Ghana where agricultural waste products such as rice and sugar cane husks are in abundance and requested that government should be furnished with a proposal on the project for the needed partnership.
Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology who chaired the function, said the programme had come at a time when the government planned to establish Science and Technology parks in the country and added that her ministry welcomed a proposal on the project to do a public private partnership.
She said there had been outcry by politicians, civil society groups, Parliamentarians, and other government officials across the West Coast of Africa against the uncontrollable threat to the environment by plastic waste.
Ms Ayittey said the outcries needed attention to ensure that alternatives were found for plastic packaging and called on farmers to increase productivity in corn, sugar cane, rice, millet, pineapple and cassava.
She said waste management and recycling employed over 500,000 people in Brazil and generated over two billion dollars, which avoided 10 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.
Professor Ramaness Parasuraman, CEO of Return2Green Malaysian who invented the technology, said apart from introducing a business that would rid the cities of plastic waste, the programme would generate employment and funds to improve the country’s GDP.
He said the programme would cover a market of about $300 billion while a capital of $100 million would be used for investment in the business plan in Ghana adding that there was an already market for sale of the products from Ghana.
Professor Parasuraman said the inventions had passed the United States and the European Union regulation test and was ready to commercialize products from the inventions and that despite the competition in Europe, he would focus in Ghana and the rest of Africa to address their plastic waste menace.
Mr Kojo Yankah, President of the Africa University College of Communication and Chairman of Africa2Green project, said it was imperative that non-biodegradable materials be replaced with eco-friendly biodegradable products.
He explained that R2G products are 100% eco-friendly and 100% biodegradable and superior in design and performance to their less environmentally friendly counterparts and that it was fully capable of creating customized products per client’s requirements.