Banning plastics must be strategic, selective – Environment Minister

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation(MESTI), Dr Kwaku Afriyie, says plastics cannot be banned entirely but rather specific types of plastics that were harmful should be targeted.

He explained that the banning of plastics should be selective and strategic and “do not use a blunt instrument to solve a problem like this.”

 Dr Afriyie said this on Friday during a tour of three manufacturing companies within the Ashaiman and Tema enclave.

 The companies are Nelplast Ghana Limited at Kubekro within the Ashaiman municipality and SRG Industries Ghana Limited and Zenith Plastics Ghana Limited in Tema.

 The tour was aimed at familiarising with the work of the companies and how they could help fight the plastic menace in the country.

According to Dr Afriyie, no country had universally banned plastics and that it would be impossible to survive without plastics.

He said the type of plastics that should be targeted were the under 20 microns (black and white polythene bags) that were being used in wrapping or packaging foods.

“These ones the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) can pass by-laws and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will enforce it,” he added.

 Mr Afriyie said the country was being submerged in plastics though it had in many ways helped the country, especially with regards to the industries.

He, however, said though plastics had come to make life a bit comfortable, its rippling effect was becoming higher than the comfort it provided.

He was of the view that plastic circularity was the way to go adding that plastics as raw materials could be reused many times.

He said there were health implications to the use to of plastics explaining that the plastics enter the food chain and then taken into the body on daily basis.

He said the problems created by plastics could be solved but indicated that in between the problem and solution were areas that should be considered which included economics, sociology and culture

“We have to craft policies that will be followed thoroughly to ensure the circularity and also make sure we do not poison our population as well as not contributing to greenhouse gas emissions”, he stated.

The Chief Executive Officer of SRG Industries Ghana Limited, Mr BipinShanghavi, said to win the fight against plastics, the educational sector should be targeted.

“When we begin to engage schools because the children there are our future leaders, they will grow with it and impact their communities better,” he said.


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