Ga King, Nii Tackie Tsuru II
When traditional authorities speak out on environmental issues such as the plastic menace in the country, we relish hope that at last something is going to happen in the direction of addressing the challenge.
Occasionally, the issue of plastic pollution in the country pops up at various public forums. Academics and public officials speak about the menace so lavishly that we could bet that the next day a seismic action is going to be taken against plastics.
Some countries, we have learnt, have taken bold actions which are beginning to bear fruits. Unfortunately, we are not there yet and really can’t even conjecture when that would be.
When the Ga King, Nii Tackie Tsuru II, hosted a Japanese government advisor on tourism a few days ago as contained in one of the stories in this issue, he seized the opportunity to vent his frustration over the subject which for now does not appear to be receiving treatment and rightly so.
A filthy country cannot attract as many tourists as a neat one. With a clean environment, we would be on the march towards the cleanest city in Africa, a dream we have set ourselves.
The Ga Mantse is the second traditional authority to speak out on the issue. The Dakpema of Tamale, the spiritual head of the Northern Regional capital, had cause to complain about how plastics are killing livestock in the municipality. Goats, in particular, have a penchant for picking salty plastics products which soon interfere with their digestive system leading to an eventual death.
Marine life have not been spared the hazards of plastic wastes most of which end up in the Atlantic Ocean, ready to be swallowed by an assortment of fishes.
Accra, as the nation’s capital, is the worst offender when it comes to plastic pollution. It is nonetheless blessed with many tourist attractions which display pieces of plastic wastes around them. The James Fort is a typical example. From loaves of bread to ingredients bought at the market, plastics are used as wrappers. We are overwhelmed by the quantum of plastics generated on daily basis in particular and the consequences of the phenomenon.
The Ga King and his other colleague traditional rulers can spearhead a national campaign to reduce the use of plastics in the country.
The traditional authorities can also prompt the government to really initiate a policy to discourage the use of plastics through hefty taxes on the ingredients for their production. The policy can also consider the enforcement of the use of biodegradable materials for the production of wrappers and plastic derivatives.
A return to our paper bag days is long overdue. Being biodegradable paper bags do not pose any threat to the environment.
A King has spoken. Let the policymakers and the citizenry listen and act now.