The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has called for a combination of actions and radical measures from Ghanaians to help minimise the use of plastics.
According to the minister, individuals, the private sector, corporate entities, and the state must all play critical roles to ensure that the plastic waste menace, is effectively dealt with.
He made the call when members of the Mount Zion Presbyterian Church in Mempeasem, Accra, paid a courtesy call on him, on Tuesday in Accra.
The courtesy call was to appeal to the minister to help the church to promote its cotton-made bags among the public to serve as a substitute for plastics to reduce plastic waste in the country.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said all had to be radical and passionate towards keeping the environment clean and safeguarding it for the future generation.
Speaking on Ghana’s position to ban plastics, he said, general banning of plastics would be difficult, however, areas in which plastics usage affected the health and economic growth of the country ought to be addressed.
“There are certain things that cannot be banned right now. Plastic made items like sachet water cannot be banned now because our water bodies have been polluted by agricultural practices, illegal mining and other human activities. So until, we address problems of water pollution, we cannot ban sachet water.
“About 1.5 million people are in the plastic business including; manufacturers and marketers and putting them out of their work is not something we want to do right now,” he added.
However, he was quick to say, Resource Recovery Secretariat had been set up for stakeholders, including the media to discuss and find appropriate ways to control problems associated with plastic waste in the country.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng lauded the efforts of the church and called on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, religious institutions, schools, associations and organisations to help to promote the step to reduce the heap of plastic waste in the country and its consequences on health and the environment.
“With churches, you can support the idea and make it more innovative by using it to enhance evangelism. So, you can write Bible quotations on the bags so that it evangelises to people as others use the bags,” he said.
Mr Seth Ansong Osafo, a Consultant of International Environmental Law and a member of the church, said the church thought of the rampant generation of plastic waste spread across the streets of the country, especially in the capital and generated reusable, washable and recyclable bags from cotton.
The cotton-made bags, he explained, would help to protect the environment and keep the nation clean, when widely accepted by the public.
“If the state can get the people to accept this, then we will be using less plastics,” he added.
However, he said, the problem the church faced was funding, as the cotton purchased from Juapong Textiles was expensive, and appealed to the minister to help them with supply to make their project more feasible.
Mr Osafo appealed to government to set up training programmes, where the youth could be trained with skills in producing bags from other materials apart from plastics to generate income for their livelihood.
He urged organisations to partner them and sponsor the project, explaining that, their logos and brand names could be printed on the bags to promote their products and services, so that each party could benefit from the partnership.