The high amounts of plastic waste which end up in the sea and other water bodies have negatively impacted on fish production in Ghana, the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Madam Sherry Ayittey has said.
“Plastic waste is killing fish in the ocean, and there is the need to tackle the problem and create a healthy ocean whilst boosting the fishery sector,” she stated at the launch of the Coastal Sanitation Project at Lower Axim in the Western Region on Friday.
The project, which aims at enhancing sanitation within Ghana’s fishing communities is on the theme, ‘Transforming coastal sanitation through improved technology: Coastal Sanitation: Our health, our business.”
Ms. Ayittey said the Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, would employ about 5,000 youth across the country under the Youth Employment Authority (YEA) to clean the coasts.
Under the project, a 12-seater toilet facility, which consists of a 12-unit washroom, a pavilion to host social activities, a biogas plant, borehole and a water reservoir, will be constructed at Lower Axim and other selected communities in the Greater Accra, Central, Volta and Eastern regions.
The Minister explained that the measure would ensure high quality fish from coastal communities while safeguarding the health of fishermen and fishmongers.
She said the project was in line with the Social Coastal Project and aimed at ensuring hygienic conditions in fishing communities.
Ms. Ayittey noted that Ghana exported over 500 million fish to the European Union (EU) alone annually, and there was the need to ensure hygienic sanitary conditions at the landing beaches and fishing communities in general, to boost the fishery sector.
“In spite of the huge export potentials, some fish exporters from Ghana are unable to meet the high international sanitary and health standards required to export fish,” she said, adding that the situation made it difficult for Ghanaian fish exporters to fully take advantage of the opportunities available under the ACP/EU Partnership to export to the EU.
She therefore entreated the beneficiary communities to maintain the facilities and provide the necessary support for the implementation of the project.
Mr Kweku Tanikyi Kessie, Member of Parliament of Evalue Jomoro Gwira said Axim was a renowned town with beautiful beaches but has lost its beauty over the years due to open defecation and pollution of the sea with plastics.
By Emelia Enyonam Kuleke