General News of Friday, 9 March 2018
Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, has encouraged the Addo Akufo-Addo’s government to ban the use of plastic bags as part of efforts to help achieve his promise of making Accra the cleanest city in Africa by 2020.
The debate on whether or not to ban the use of plastic bags has been ongoing in the country for years.
Former President John Dramani Mahama, while in office, threatened to ban the use of plastic bags if the state of pollution was not curtailed.
Mr Mahama said at the time that: “If producers of plastics don’t do something about it, then we may have to go the Rwandan way; Rwanda banned the use of plastics, nobody uses plastics and yet they are surviving.”
High Commissioner Barnes, whose tweet, a few weeks ago, about filth around the Australian High Commission went viral on social media, leading to a clean-up of the area by waster authorities, believes banning plastic bags will help control the sanitation situation in the capital.
Speaking to Dr Etse Sikanku on World Affairs on Class 91.3FM in an exclusive interview, Mr Barnes said Ghana should learn from other countries that have banned plastic bags and find a more sustainable way of packaging.
He said: “I think people are starting to realise that they can’t just sit around and go on in the old ways, they can’t keep buying and consuming plastics and just throwing it away. There have got to be proper regulations and structures in place and improvement in rubbish collection systems and then waste disposal, recycling and probably the most obvious one is the ban on plastic bags.
“Rwanda has done it, Kenya has done it, Morocco has done it, the Scandinavian countries have done it, it’s happening across Australia in many states and the single use of plastic bags is a rubbish idea. People have got to move on; people have got to find more sustainable ways of packaging and shopping,” he said.
Official figures estimate that only two per cent of the about 22,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated yearly in Ghana, is recycled.
The remaining 98 per cent is sent to landfill sites by waste management companies. Some of that find their way into drains, water bodies and the streets.