The Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS) is calling for the appropriate disposal of personal, protective equipment (PPE) among the public in order not to compound the country’s insanitary condition.
Conservation Education Officer of the GWS, Louisa Kabobah, observed a global surge in plastic pollution since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling for deliberate efforts to reduce the threat in the country.
“Plastics already engulf every aspect of our daily lives, and with the onset of COVID-19 and its ubiquitous nature, wearing of face masks, made mostly from disposable plastic material has become the new normal.”
“We advise that people use the fabric masks more instead of the disposables and for the other PPE, it’s advisable to dispose them properly into cover bins, so they do not end up polluting the environment and causing further public health concerns,” she urged.
Ms Kabobah was speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times ahead of the “Plastic Free July Campaign”, aimed at reducing plastic waste, the world over, in the month of July.
“Plastic Free July,” is a global movement that helps millions of people to make small changes to minimise their single-used plastics consumption, in order to have cleaner streets, oceans, and communities.
Spearheading Ghana’s challenge, the GWS is inviting the public to share simple tricks and tips taken to reduce plastic consumption in their daily lives and send them to its website.
Photos of a plastic-free lifestyle adopted by citizens could also be shared on the Society’s social media handles as the GWS provides weekly tips on reducing plastic waste for participants in the course of the challenge.
Ms Kabobah, though commended government for steps taken to rid the country of filth, she believed more could be done to improve sanitary conditions and save the environment.
“Further sensitisation of the general public is very critical, enforcement of laws is also critical and those found culpable must be made to face the full rigours of the law.
“I think, if policy maker’s work hand in hand with civil society organisations and the general public towards the achievement of the goal, it will be attainable to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa,” she said.
Ms Kabobah advised Ghanaians to be deliberate about reducing plastic pollution by “first, choose one plastic to avoid. It could be a plastic shopping bag, straw, cup, bottle or cutlery. Small changes lead to big impacts. Make that choice today to reduce your plastic waste.”
“Carry a reusable water bottle when you step out of home. Bring your own reusable bag when you go shopping. Refuse that plastic bag or styrofoam container from your popular waakye seller and other food vendors and take your own food container or have the meal served in the traditional banana leaves (“ahaban”) wrappings instead,” she advised.
Ms Kabobah hoped that the campaign would be subsequently localized “depending on the success rate so, we are looking at having a ‘Plastic-Free Weekend’ where we will urge Ghanaians and share weekly tips on how they can reduce their plastic consumption, especially during weekends where we consume more plastics from social events like weddings, funerals, etc.”
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH