‘Ghana can lose 5,276,770 jobs through ban on plastics’

The Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association (GPMA) has said an outright ban on use of plastics can lead to the loss of about 5,276,770 jobs, representing 18.2 per cent of the Ghanaian population.

It has, therefore, called for stringent collaborative efforts to manage the country’s public waste in a much sustainable manner for socio-economic growth.

“We want government to avoid the tendency to make rush interventions without thorough scientific and economic analysis of facts and figures on the plastic industry in Ghana,” President of GPMA, Ebbo Botwe, stressed at a news conference in Accra on Tuesday.

He said there was clear apathy on the part of duty bearers in enforcing regulations binding the plastic industry, adding that resorting to a ban was a lazy approach in dealing with plastic waste.

According to Mr Botwe, despite making it mandatory for plastic manufacturers to add oxo-bio additive to their products to check plastic pollution and ensure degradation, little had been done to ensure compliance from foreign manufacturers as the spotlight had always been on local manufacturers.

He said, “From November 1, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consistently made sure GPMA members conformed to the production of oxo-bio flexible plastic packaging, which made us incur an additional operational cost of about 27 per cent.”

Mr Botwe indicated that 62 per cent of plastic bags (take away carry bags), films and sheets on the market were mostly imported from China, which were not oxo-bio compliant, but EPA had failed to enforce the directive “to ensure that should a plastic waste end up in an open environment, it is able to degrade or biodegrade”.

He said the activities of foreign nationals did not only hurt the plastic industry, but contravened the country’s laws on retailing by foreigners, and asked government to rather consider banning all imported plastic flexible products.

“We have the capacity to manufacture here in Ghana, so why should the local plastic industry be made to bear the consequence of plastic waste generated from imported plastic products?”, Mr Botwe asked.

Expressing worry over the sideline of the GPMA in drafting the soon to be outdoored policy on plastics by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the president of association, said members were ready to work with all relevant stakeholders to reduce plastic pollution in the country.

Mr Botwe said the passage of a legislative instrument on recycling Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottles in the country, the setting up of a Plastic Levy Fund Authority and the release of the 10 per cent environmental excise tax, could save the industry and address plastic waste in the country.

There has been growing public sentiment in recent times over the need to ban plastics in the wake of staggering filth and pollution in the country.

Consequently, the government through the sector Minister, Professor Frimpong Boateng, on March 21, 2019, announced that a policy and implementation plan to trigger various actions on the use of plastics was ready for cabinet consideration.

He gave indication that products such as plastic bags, straws, plastic cutlery among others could be banned to protect public good and development.


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