From left: Lartey Benjamin, Godson Cudjoe Voado and Matilda Owusu at the conference
The Environmental Services Providers Association of Ghana (ESPA) has made a passionate appeal to government for funding and logistical support for players in the plastic waste recycling industry in the country.
Research Consultant at ESPA, Matilda Owusu, made the call on Wednesday in Accra at a conference organized by Universal Plastic Products and Recycling (UPPR), a wholly-owned Ghanaian plastic recycling firm.
The conference was aimed at building the capacity of plastic waste collectors and creating awareness about the economic benefits of the collection of plastic waste.
Ms. Owusu, in a speech, called on government to support the sector, which she said holds enormous potential for economic growth and job creation.
She said the time has come for the central government to address problems related to plastic waste in the country by providing funds and logistics to players in the sector.
The research consultant at ESPA also appealed to government to consider introducing tax exemptions on waste collection materials imported into Ghana to ease the financial burden of operators.
She also appealed to the local assemblies nationwide to vigorously implement the country’s sanitation bye-laws.
Ghana, she explained, currently imports about 10 million metric tons of finished products of plastic waste materials.
With the necessary state support, the country can produce imported materials locally, thereby creating employment opportunities for the youth, she added.
The plastic waste recycling sector, of which UPPR is a major player, currently provides about 10,000 jobs.
There is no better time to take the issue of plastic waste recycling seriously than now, Ms. Owusu said, disclosing that plastic waste pose enormous threat to the country.
About 17 percent of waste generated nationwide are plastics and the plastics take longer time to decompose; how do we get rid of these plastics, she quizzed.
A school waste collector with the Ghana Plastic Waste Management Project, Lartey Benjamin, who made a presentation under the theme: ‘the Economics of Plastics’ at the conference, indicated that in addition to job creation, the sector generates income for individuals, households and basic and second circle learning institutions.
Godson Cudjoe Voado, Chief Programme Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on his part, said his outfit was taking the necessary steps to encourage households, institutions and schools to cultivate the habit of segregating waste products.
So far, he said, there are about 18 schools working with the EPA on the waste segregation project which intends to ensure 90 percent segregation.
He encouraged government to consider establishing factories to recycle plastic, saying “we can do a lot with everything we call waste.”
By Melvin Tarlue