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Ghana Not Ready to Ban Plastics ― Prof Frimpong

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“Beat Plastic Pollution―If you can’t reuse it, refuse it. This is the tagline for the commemoration of this year’s World Environment Day.

But be that as it may, Ghana may not be able to enforce any law against the plastic waste menace until a Plastic Waste Policy Bill is passed by Parliament.

The Ghana Public Health Association (GPHA) together with other social activists have in time past challenged government to be more pragmatic in its approach to ban the use of all bio non-degradable materials.

But the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng says, government is not ready to ban plastics.

According to him, though his Ministry had considered taking this ‘most wanted’ step, it is not yet in the position to place an embargo on plastic products.

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the World Environment Day, in Accra, yesterday, Prof. Frimpong Boateng argued that the state cannot implement any law to regulate the use of plastics without Parliament’s approval.

“This is a democracy and everything should be backed by law… you may tell somebody to do something and he says where is the law banning me from this? That is why we need a policy that would be approved by Parliament and then it would be a law binding on all of us.

“It would take a few months and then the policy would be there and when the policy is approved by parliament, we can start the implementation but then the law would have to be ratified by parliament,” he explained.

The minister further encouraged the use of Oxo Bio degradable additives in the production of oxo bio degradable plastics as well as the promotion of waste recycling.

Necessary Evil

Meanwhile, it has been maintained that Plastic in itself is not a “bad” material as it is a necessity, however, its final disposal is where the problem lies―more of a curse than a blessing.

It could be recalled that in Ghana, many used to share the same cups in order to have a drink in public areas such as the lorry stations and market place.

But today, plastics makes it convenient to have water on the go. This has further helped reduce the spread of communicable disease.

It is for this reason and more that the Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA), are strongly advocating for the establishment of the National Sanitation Authority.

According to them, this authority would play a key role in the coordinating of policies and programmes of the new Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources to aid its quest to overcome the waste management challenges facing the country.

They are also asking for the release of the accrued funds accumulated under the Environmental Excise Tax.

“The tax which is intended for the private sector to establish industries that will recycle plastic waste, produce plastic waste bins and other biodegradable plastics has since not been made available following its coming into effect,” says ESPA.

The release of these funds they said, would go a long way to reduce the menace of filth as the country moves steadily move towards a clean and healthy nation.

By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ ksogbey@gmail.com

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