150 million tons of waste end up in ocean — EPA

Participants at the sensitization workshop.

Participants at the sensitization workshop.

Up to about 150 million tons of waste, including plastics, end up in the ocean from coastal countries every year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has disclosed.

The figure is set to increase with fishermen catching plastics instead of fish, if preventive ways are not found.

The Programmes Officer of EPA, Mr Samuel Nortey Quaye, who disclosed this called for attitudinal change as indiscriminate disposal of waste was the main cause of the pollution.

He was speaking at a forum in Accra yesterday for head teachers of 13 junior and Senior High Schools within the Osu-Klottey Sub-Metro of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA).

It was organised to build the capacity of participants on EPA’s Source Waste Segregation Programme which had been extended to their schools.

The project, launched last year, aims at promoting source segregation of solid waste for recycling and also reduce the quantity of solid waste that end up in limited landfill sites.

The schools would receive three 240 litre capacity bins each; colour coded for segregation of plastic, organics and paper waste. The schools join 60 other institutions already under the project.

Mr Quaye said typical solid waste contained a huge quantity of organics, followed by plastics, papers and glass.

He said the EPA would continue to educate people on the need to stop indiscriminate disposal of waste but it would be difficult to win the fight against filth if there was no attitudinal change.

Mr Godson Cudjoe Voado, a chief Project Officer of EPA said the segregation of waste at source could not solve all the problems of waste management in the society but it could prevent the arrival of considerable amounts of waste to landfills.

Successful implementation of the project, he said would among others increase public awareness on waste segregation.

Asked why the EPA was not prosecuting institutions over poor waste disposal as mandated by the act that established the Agency, he said law enforcement was not about command and control but dialogue.

He said the EPA would continue to collaborate with stakeholders in the execution of its mandate.

Mr Akua Nkrumah, Innovations Manager of Jekora Ventures, a waste management company which would pick the segregated waste from the schools for recycling, urged the teachers to champion the project.

By Jonathan Donkor

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