The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Afican Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management [K-AISWAM] partners the Universal Plastic Products Recycling (UPPR), a private plastic recycling company, to promote plastic recycling awareness in Ghana.
Announcing the new partnership, the Institute urged individuals, schools, government agencies and institutions to collect and store their plastic waste for sale at the Buy-Back-Centers which UPPR is setting up all around the country.
As part of the partnership, the Institute also indicated its readiness to use its expertise and its state-of-the-art teaching and research facilities to promote training and research that provides new insights into locally-appropriate approaches to plastic waste recycling.
The Buy-Back-Centers, according to the Institute, will offer money for the collection of plastic waste and will serve as avenues for behavioral and altitudinal changes towards plastic waste in particular. People will begin to appreciate the economic value in plastic waste and will have both reason and incentive to collect, store and sell the waste they generated. It will also serve as employment opportunities for many, especially the youth.
The Provost of the Institute, Professor Ernest Yanful, noted that ‘Ghana faces a waste crisis which needs urgent and innovative responses from all sectors of the society. Plastic waste has become pervasive; it is a social and ecological nuisance, and a real menace that is threatening not only our environment, but also public safety and public health. This initiative will not only improve sanitation in our communities it will also bring sanity to the economy’.
Corroborating the challenges of plastic waste in Ghanaian communities, particularly in urban communities, Dr. Bob Offei Manteaw, the Director of Research, Innovation and Development of the Institute, indicated that the ‘current rainy season and associated floods recorded in parts of Accra and elsewhere in the country provides ample evidence of the dangers of improper waste management.Indiscriminate disposal of waste end up clogging our waterways and contribute to the kinds of disastrous floods we see in our urban communities and their attendant threats to human health and ecosystems.’
The Floods, according to Dr. Manteaw ‘will become even more frequent and extreme due to current climate change projections and will likely also result in more disasters if the necessary steps are not taken to manage waste properly in our communities.’
This initiative is a step towards helping to mitigate these challenges and to ensure improved sanitation in our communities. Through the collective efforts of the Africa Institute of Sanitation and Waste Management and the Universal Plastic Recycling Product (UPPR), a new awareness and understanding will be created so people begin to appreciate the value of waste while they adopt new attitudes and behaviors towards the handling of waste in both in households in communities.
”When people know they can earn money from plastic waste and other wastes, and that the waste they generate could be recycled into other useful products such as waste bins and other useful plastic products, they will value their waste and will not dispose of them indiscriminately. This is a major incentive for behavioral and attitudinal change which will also usher in a new culture of waste management in the country”.
The new partnership, therefore, promises to help institutionalize a culture of value addition to waste while at the same time enhancing sanitation in our communities. These are exciting times for value addition to the waste we generate, perhaps even more importantly it is also a good example of how creative partnerships such as the one between the Institute and UPPR could bring lasting benefits to society.
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