The Federation of Plastic Manufacturers, Recyclers and Users, Ghana, has launched the “Talkplast 2019” campaign, to enable policy makers and stakeholders from West African to discuss challenges and find solutions to plastic waste and marine littering.
The Talkplast 2019 campaign on the theme: “West African Countries Unite for Clean, Healthy and Productive Ocean Ecosystems,” would be held from June 18 to 20, 2019 in Accra. Stakeholders at the end of the conference are expected to develop a workable plan, which should constitute education and capacity building, economic enterprises, and communication and networking.
The conference should also deepen awareness of the plastic menace and the need for concerted, coordinated and innovative responses from national, civic institutions and stakeholders within the sub-region.
Mr. Daniel Tornyigah, the Director for Policy and Sustainability of the Federation who launched the conference in Accra, said waste streams in the country and across West Africa were currently dominated by plastic waste, which was primarily because of the wide spread use of plastic products across sectors.
The current lack of focus on recycling of plastic products and existing lack of plastic waste management mechanism, he explained, had created a situation where plastic waste, like other solid waste materials were discarded indiscriminately.
Plastics, he said, contributed to about 16 per cent of waste generated and the ocean had become a disposal site for plastics, thereby having negative consequences on the marine ecosystems.
Mr. Tornyigah noted that emerging research suggested the likelihood of the ocean containing more plastics, micro plastics and other wastes streams than fish by 2050.
“The government’s lack of focus in promoting effective recycling in Ghana as a flagship priority area, the lack of implementation and the existing sanitation bylaws, as well as the strengthening of existing waste management mechanisms and the non-operationalisation of the environmental excise tax, customs excise amendment 2013 (Act 863) positions the nation as losers,” he said.
With regard to placing a ban on the use of plastics, Mr Tornyigah said there had been incessant public outcry and agitation to ban it and key players in the sector had come under attack especially as the plastic waste menace was linked to the current poor
conditions in most communities.
Banning the use of plastics, he said, was not the solution; however, the solution was for the country to adopt a sustainable waste management practice to ensure that the environments and marine bodies were free from waste.
He reiterated that encouraging recycling would also create job opportunities for the youth and contribute to socio-economic development.
Mr. Tornyigah suggested that the country obtains a sustainable plastic waste management system, focuses on promoting effective recycling mechanisms and enact effective sanitation laws to address the problems associated with indiscriminate disposal of waste.