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We cannot abolish plastics for now – Dr. Kwaku Afriyie

By Samuel Nyigmabo

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has reiterated that Ghana is not ready to ban the production of plastics.

Speaking to the media during his tour of plastic production companies in Accra, the sector minister said, his outfit cannot put a total ban on plastic production within the country but will look at limited restrictions on usage in certain aspects.

“We cannot abolish plastics for now, but we look at limited restrictions in certain aspects and uses. We also intend to have an extended producer responsibility and financial sustainability strategy, so that those who cause social and chemical havoc will be held responsible for their actions ”, he said.

However, Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has said that the country is sinking in the sea of plastics and will not hesitate to criminalize aspects of plastic production and usage.

The minister also noted that the government is engaging the private sector to support firms that are into recycling plastics.

“We want to bring the private sector participation in this process and look for avenues where the government could help private plastic production firms who are into recycling access capital and expand their operations”, he hinted.

Dealing with plastic waste in the country has become problematic and many have called for a ban on its production to avert the impending doom on the nation. The minister, however, feels it is not time for the country to ban the production and usage of plastics.

He stated that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation is collaborating with other ministries and entities to promote effective plastic production and waste management while encouraging recycling of same to reduce plastic waste in the environment.

Plastic waste forms most of Ghana’s waste management problems as the country produces 1.1 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. Only 5% of the plastics are recycled in the country and the rest take abode in gutters and the ocean. Researchers have projected that by 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean if urgent steps are not taken to revert the current situation.

United Nations member states are set to meet this month in Nairobi to draft the blueprint for a global plastics treaty, a deal that could see countries agree for the first time to reduce the amount of single-use plastics they produce and use. 

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