PRESIDENT John Mahama has served notice to plastic producers in the country that government may be compelled to ‘go the Rwanda way’ by banning plastic products if an efficient means is not found to plastic waste management.
“Its (plastics) becoming such a pernicious pollutant…if the producers of plastics don’t do something about it, then we might have to go the Rwanda way; in Rwanda plastics are banned, nobody use plastics and yet they are surviving,” he said.
Addressing members of the El-Wak Keep Fit Club in Accra on Saturday, after undertaking a health walk, President Mahama cautioned that “We need to come out with a solution to this plastic thing and if we can’t handle or manage plastic waste, then we must ban it, so that we don’t have plastics at all”.
He said the gravity of the plastic waste problem had became more manifest, following the June 3 devastating floods in Accra and its attendant deaths, stressing that the water bodies became overwhelmed with plastics.
The walk, under the auspices of Blue Skies Company, was the 16th of its kind since its inception in 1986, and was in connection with the Republic Day anniversary.
It was on the theme, “Keeping fit in a healthy environment: The role of all”.
The walk covered a distance of 15 kilometres from the El-Wak Stadium to Pig Farm, New Town, Nima and back to El-Wak, in a space of three hours.
President Mahama, who has been participating in the annual exercise for some time now, stressed the need for the citizenry to re-visit the traditional values of keeping the surroundings clean.
He advocated the necessity for people to lend a helping hand during the national days set aside for sanitation, saying that it was not appropriate for people to stand aloof while government officials came around to clean and desilt choked gutters in their area of abode.
In view of the lackadaisical attitude of some people concerning the national sanitation days, the President said it was about time sanitary inspectors, popularly known as ‘samansaman,’ started prosecuting people for infractions on the environmental bye-laws.
“What I think we should do now is not go and clean; we should go with the sanitation court and the sanitation judge, and instead of national sanitation day going to clean, the judge will be following and where your place is dirty, we just arraign you right there, he will fine you or convict you and they will send you to sleep in Nsawam for two days and when you come back, am sure that you will come and clean”, the President said.
He recalled that unlike in times past, the sanitary inspectors were no longer feared by people because they were not enforcing the bye-laws.
President Mahama observed that people were now dying younger due mainly to changing lifestyles, stressing that life style-related diseases such as diabetes, kidney ailments, heart attack, strokes, were now killing people than infectious ailments.
He attributed the phenomenon to the lack of regular exercises and the eating of unbalanced diet and underscored the need for people to exercise regularly while maintaining a clean environment.
Dr. Ahmed Mustapha, Minister for Youth and Sports, said that the ministry had plans to promote good environmental habits through the various keep fit clubs in the country.
He said the devastating floods that hit parts of Accra had shown that the way garbage was disposed of in the country was not the best.
Dr. Michael Abu Sakara of the Convention People’s Party, who also joined the President’s entourage in the walk, urged all and sundry to make regular exercises a habit, saying, “We will all be healthier and be able to contribute better to national development”.
Abdul Karim Hatsu, Chairman of the El-Wak Keep Fit Club, said there was no better medicine than at least, a 30-minute exercise three times a week.
“Keeping fit boosts our energy levels, reduces our weight, and also promotes better and sounder sleep,” he said and stressed the importance of maintaining a clean environment.
Mr. Hatsu gave a health tip on how to detoxify the body: “First thing in the morning, take a very deep breath-in for four seconds, then hold your breath for eight seconds and release it gradually for four seconds.
Then stop breathing for four seconds and release your breath. After that, take a glass of water.”
By Samuel Nuamah