Ban Importation Of Flexible Plastic Bags From China – GPMA Tells Govt
The Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association (GPMA) has called on the government to ban the importation of flexible plastic bags from China into Ghana.
According to the group, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures that GPMA members conform to the production of Oxo-bio additive flexible plastic packaging but alleged that products from China do not conform to the directive.
“The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation made it mandatory to use Oxo-bio additive in our manufacturing process to check plastic pollution,” the GPMA said at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday.
Oxo-biodegradable plastic is often referred to as “degradable” plastic since it does not require a biological process to degrade.
Addressing the press conference, the President for GPMA, Mr Ebo Botwe said 62 per cent of all plastic bags, films and sheets found on the Ghanaian market are from China.
“Currently, about 62% of plastic carry bags, takeaway bags, cut bags, films and sheets on the markets are imported mostly from China which is not Oxo-Biodegradable nor Degradable and these form the huge plastic waste we find in our environment. This is seriously hurting the Plastic Industry in Ghana…unfortunately, EPA has failed to enforce this ministerial directive right from its inception”, he said.
The group, therefore, called on the EPA to enforce the laws and regulations on Oxo-Bio Additive on imported finished plastic products into the country.
Plastic packaging products in Ghana
Mr Botwe further stated that the installed capacity for plastic packaging products is at 56 per cent utilisation whilst imports are over 62 per cent coupled with the fact that, most of the multi-national companies are also importing their plastic packaging – attributing their reason to their importation, to the high cost of the locally manufactured plastic products.
“Fact is that, the quantity of Chinese imports are increasing by the day because more Chinese nationals are setting up warehouses and importing finished plastic packaging products for retail. This activity by the Chinese is also against the law on retailing by foreigners. Indeed, it has gotten to a stage where, some local traders have set up small scale production factories in China to produce plastic take away bags, rolls, cut bags, sheets and the rest and ship them to Ghana for sale”
Mr Botwe also said there are about 160 plastic manufacturers in the country giving direct employment to over 28,000 people and indirect employment of over 4,200 and also generates over 3.7 million jobs in the plastic waste recycling sector.
He continued that about 87 per cent of industries in Ghana depends on the Plastic Manufacturers for all their plastic packaging needs, adding that equally, industries in Togo, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger depends heavily on Ghana Plastic Manufacturers for their plastic packaging needs.
“It is interesting to note that, all production of plastic bags, rolls, sheets etc for Burkina Faso market must be Bio-Degradable”