The government will strictly enforce laws against plastic waste pollution in line with a renewed effort to tackle the menace, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, DrKwakuAfriyie, has said.
He said hefty fines, where applicable, would be carried out to deter people from littering and engaging in other forms of plastic waste pollution in order to save the country from the increasing impact of the practice.
Engaging with the management of two plastic production plants in Accra yesterday, he said the impact of plastic waste pollution had reached life-threatening levels because fish being consumed were also eating the plastic waste dumped into the sea indiscriminately.
“By the end of every month, you would have ingested the size of a regular complementary card in terms of micro-plastics through the food chain and it would cause all the damage you would want to think of,” he said.
The visit to the plastic production plants-Mini Plant and Dophil Roofing systems, a subsidiary of the Dophil Group-was part of industry engagement to rope them into the revived strategy to address the plastic pollution challenge.
He was accompanied by a team from the Ministry and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Dr Afriyie said as part of the rejuvenated fight public awareness would be intensified, collaboration with industries would be solidified to expand recycling of plastic waste while steps would be taken to gradually reduce and phase out single-use plastics.
He said the single-use plastic was one of the kinds of plastics causing all the environmental eyesore, noting with worry how those who prepare fermented corn meals such as “Fantekenkey” for sale were using them.
“We are ingesting a lot of plastics. We will not sit down to see that Ghanaians are poisoned. This poisonous phenomenon is a very chronic phenomenon so one has to do studies before you know the outcome but studies elsewhere have pointed out that it is not even good for the body,” he said.
Asked if the government had plans to ban plastics, DrAfriyie said due to their importance, the state would target and limit the use of specific products like single-use plastics and gradual ban instead of a blanket ban.
He said despite the government’s quest to deal with the issue, care was being taken to avoid disruption to the industry, hence it would engage industry members on how they could play their role in solving the problems.
He said the Ministry was collaborating with the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources and Ministry of Local government, Decentralisatiomand RuralDevelopment and other stakeholders to intensify the fight against plastic waste.
The Chief Executive Officers of Mini Plant and Dophil Roofing systems, NaminGhanem Junior and Dr Kwaku Adjepong respectively, indicated their readiness to expand operations and help the government win the fight against plastic waste pollution.
BY JONATHAN DONKOR