‘Behavioural Change Is Critical in Addressing Plastic Menace’

GHANAIANS HAVE been urged to change their attitude on managing plastic waste.

The call was made by stakeholders at a plastic dialogue organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Accra recently.

The stakeholders expressed the belief that attitudinal change would help improve waste management in the country.

“We call for concerted behavioural change from the public to deal with plastic because the issue is not plastics per se, but littering, and our attitude towards waste management must change.”

The multi-stakeholder dialogue, organized as part of activities of the Waste Recovery Platform being facilitated by UNDP, enabled the participants to share information on ongoing policy and project initiatives on plastic management to stimulate partnerships for accelerating the delivery of tangible solutions for plastic management in the country.

Plastic pollution has become a major development challenge across the world.

In Ghana, recent statistics show that the country generates about 1 million tons of plastic waste annually.

Out of this, only 2-5 percent (22,000-55,000) is recycled.

The rest end on landfill (38%), land (28%), sea (23%), or burned (11%).

This worrying trend calls for a collaborative effort from all stakeholders within the waste management value chain to find a lasting solution to the problem, according to the UNDP.

In line with the target five of the Sustainable Development Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), which calls for a substantial reduction in waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse by 2030, the participants at the dialogue recognized the importance of state institutions, civil society, academia and private sector actors working together on awareness creation, innovation and infrastructure to promote waste recovery.

Stakeholders also called for enforcement of sanitation by-laws to prevent littering.

In this regard, the Sustainability and Resilience Advisor for the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Desmond Appiah disclosed that the Assembly has renovated its Sanitation Courts and stepped up efforts to enforce sanitation by-laws, as per the provisions in Act 851 section 56 a and b of the Public Health Act 2012.

The dialogue brought together over 150 stakeholders from development agencies, the public and private sectors, as well as academia and civil society, who are members of the Waste Recovery Platform.

Panelists who championed the discussions from the public sector involved representatives from the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, and AMA.

Non-state actors included representatives from University of Ghana, Environmental Service Protection Agency (ESPA), Department for International Development (DFID) and the Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE).

The ‘Waste’ Recovery Platform is a one-stop shop solution being developed to connect key stakeholders in the waste management value chain to promote waste recovery in a larger circular economy context.

BY DGN Online