Separation, Recycling And Proper Disposal Of Waste

| Updated May 15, 2018 at 3:38pm




Despite persistent calls from environmentalists and other interest groups, Government is unable to ban the use of plastics in Ghana due to the absence of a policy. However, according to the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Professor Frimpong Boateng there are consultations to develop such a policy. Plastic waste contributes the bulk of filth engulfing the nation. Ghana has a history of half a century of plastic manufacturing, with companies currently producing over 30,000 metric tons of plastic products, complemented by thousands of plastic products imported into the country. Against the prediction that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish, the United Nations has dedicated its Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 14) Ocean Conference to fighting the plastics menace. It is a known fact that nations that have banned the use and production of plastics or have imposed taxes on companies producing or using plastics have seen significant drops in its use. If Ghana, like developed countries, could recycle even half of its plastic waste, millions of gallons of oil and cubic meters of landfill space could be saved annually. Indeed, a feasibility study on plastic waste conducted by the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimated that 1.2 million Ghana Cedis could be realised monthly if plastic waste generated in Ghana could be recycled.

Government alone cannot effectively fight the engulfing battle of plastic waste management. Success will require concerted and organized stakeholders’ efforts and responsibility beginning with individuals, families, institutions of every type and level as well as law enforcement agencies. An article is focused on the pioneering efforts of the Legon Interdenominational Church which since 2014 is showing the way in efforts to deal with the plastic waste menace through sensitization of its congregation and strategic partnerships. An educationist and Social Marketing expert is guiding the process which is driven by a number of Champions. Social Action Ministry (SAM) in 2014 initiated the Plastic Waste Project with the primary objective to promote the culture of waste separation and proper waste disposal in the congregation and by extension the wider public. The Ministry's ultimate goal in implementing this project is to contribute to national efforts to keep Ghana clean. Prior to the official launch of the project, the Leadership of the Ministry spent months clarifying the project concept and planning and negotiating with the Council of Elders which permitted the Ministry to make structured presentations to the congregation to sensitise them on the dangers and social cost of indiscriminate waste disposal. On the first Sunday of every month, they bring and deposit their plastic waste at the designated collection point with the strict supervision of SAM’s Leadership. Charity, we know, begins at home so schools, churches, markets, social groups, children and youth in particular should embrace the culture of waste separation and proper disposal through the example of the Social Action Ministry plastic waste project.

Indeed, in recent times, a number of faith-based leaders have openly declared strong support for Government’s efforts to keep Ghana clean and to protect the environment. A concerted and collaborative effort will certainly drive the national vision to achieve results. Sanctions will have an important role to play for the desired results to be achieved and within reasonable timeliness. Sensitization should cut across all levels beginning with the individual, households, communities, social groups as well as municipal and district assemblies. Mass and social media communication strategies are cost effective if complemented by targeted grassroots training and equipping of community and group based motivators and champions. Let us, therefore, join hands to make the plastic menace a thing of the past.