Let us join efforts to manage plastic waste

Let us join efforts to manage plastic waste

—Mr. John Pwamang, EPA: calls for action

Views: 878 Ishmael A. Junourgh, Accra, The Acting Executive Director for Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) John Pwamang has called for joint effo...

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Ishmael A. Junourgh, Accra,

Mr. John Alexis Pwamang

Mr. John Alexis Pwamang

The Acting Executive Director for Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) John Pwamang has called for joint efforts to effectively manage plastic waste in the country.

Speaking on the occasion of this year’s World Environment Day in Accra, the Acting Director noted that plastic waste, if properly managed, had very good benefits, otherwise, regrettable human catastrophe.

But, whiles the country is yet to achieve a national plastic policy; research has it that only an estimated 2 percent of its plastic waste is recycled, the other 98 percent finds itself either in the hands of waste management companies like Zoomlion, or in the streets, drain pipes, and water bodies, polluting urban areas and clogging drainage systems.

According to the Acting Director, some measures to curb the trend in the country were as follow: development of national plastic policy, formation of a functional association to control and manage plastics wastes, 2015 ministerial directives on plastic waste management, use of Oxo-biodegradable additives in the production of Oxo-biodegradable flexible plastic films.

Others he mentioned included; promoting plastic waste recycling by encouraging private sector to invest in establishing recycling plants with some support from Ghana, development of regulations and by-laws, education on plastic waste management and levy on plastics to make them the least choice of materials for carrier bags.

Yet others were waste segregation at source of generation and recycling of the segregated wastes, building institutional capacity for plastic waste management, implementation of the Ghana Standard and Conformity Assessment Protocol on Oxo-biodegradable plastics and additives;  in 2017, 32 factories were identified to be producing plastic films in Accra-Tema area and were monitored, and monitoring of factories which are producing plastic films to ensure compliance with Ministerial directive of 2015.

Mr. Pwamang believed that all the measures when implemented in full force would yield positive out comes in terms of plastic waste management in the country.

When asked, he said “policy implementation in the country is not all that bad as some may perceive,” and that when the national plastic policy is passed into law, the country would achieve significantly a lot in terms of plastic management.

He noted that plastic pollution has adverse effects on the land, waterways, and oceans, lowering organisms particularly marine mammals could be harmed either by mechanical effects such as entanglements by plastic objects or problems related to ingestion of plastic waste or through exposure to chemicals contained in plastics.

He said Scientists had analysed tap water samples from more than a dozen nations for an investigation and found out that 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibers.

The Acting Executive Director defined plastic pollution as “the accumulation of plastic products in the environment that adversely affect wildlife, wildlife habitats, domestic animals and humans. Plastics that act as pollutants are categorized into micro and macro. These two factors have led to a high prominence of plastic pollution in the environment.”

He noted that as a global issue, micro plastic contamination had been found in tap water in countries around the world leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on implications for health.