The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has disclosed that government is not ready to ban the the use of plastic products in Ghana immediately as some African countries have done.
Instead, he mentioned that the government will come up with policies to turn plastic waste into resources that will benefit the country.
The minister who was speaking at a programme in Accra to commemorate the World Environment Day on 5th June 2018, highlighted illegal mining as the reason for his assertions.
“…Sometimes we are told that plastic has been banned in some African countries and therefore we should do the same in Ghana but we have to study our situation and know that through galamsey and illegal mining we have polluted our rivers and most people rely on sachet water for drinking. We don’t want to be banning things we can’t enforce,” asserted Mr Frimpong- Boateng, who is also the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce against Illegal Mining.
On the floor of Parliament today, Mp for Bawku central and former Minister of Environment,Science and Technology, Hon Mahama Ayariga, advocated for the ban of plastic use in Ghana if waste management would not yield good results.
He said the litter of plastic in rural and urban communities “can be very scary” adding “it breeds mosquitoes” and pointed that many livestock feed on plastic products and die resulting in “exacerbating the poverty” of people who breed the animals in the rural areas.
In the cities, Mr Ayariga said, the perennial floods the country has been facing annually is as a result of “plastic that choke gutters” thereby contending that if influencing attitudinal change was failing, “a firm decision” ought to be taken to consider the ban of plastic products like other countries have done, citing plastic management as difficult.
But the Environment Minister said the ban cannot be enforced in Ghana sooner.
“I know a few countries that sensibly have banned plastics but if you go there now, there’s active smuggling into the country where they claim to have banned it. We don’t want that in Ghana. We want to take a good decision we can enforce properly,” he added.
The minister therefore encouraged the using of cotton rather than using plastic courier bags and straws used in various restaurants to avoid excessive generation of plastic waste.