New policy to deal with plastics soon

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng says the  government has no intention of banning the use of plastics, since it is not the solution to the plastic menace which has engulfed the country.

Rather a new policy that would seek to regulate and manage its usage to ensure proper handling of plastic waste had been developed and awaiting cabinet approval.

Taking his turn at the Meet-the-Press series organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra yesterday, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the new policy would redirect the focus on issues of plastics and its management.

He said a final draft of the document with its implementation plan had been submitted for cabinet approval and it would be operationalised immediately  after approval.

According to him the new policy was anchored on five focal areas including, encouraging behaviour change towards sustainable plastics management, facilitating strategic planning and cross-sectorial collaboration as well as accelerating innovation and transition towards a circular economy.

Furthermore, it would include deploying means for resource mobilisation and supporting good governance, inclusiveness and shared accountability.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the need for a new policy was to redirect the focus on issues of plastics in the country, stressing that “banning of plastics in the country was not the best option and we have to look at new areas of dealing with the situation.”

He said while government was not deaf to calls from some quarters for an outright ban to be placed on the use of plastics, it was not feasible if one considered the circular economy of plastic use in the country.

“What we need is a behavioural change and if you say behavioural change is not going to solve the problem, then I must indicate to you that an outright ban will equally not solve the problem,” he stressed.

The minister buttressed his point with the fact that countries like Kenya and Rwanda where plastics had been banned, people out of bad behaviour still smuggled plastics from neighbouring countries in there.

He said a communication strategy was being developed to facilitate the implementation of the new policy when it was approved by cabinet.

In addition, he said an account for plastic levy had been opened at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to finance all the various programmes targeted at reducing the menace of plastic waste in the country.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng explained that the programmes outlined in the new policy included the establishment of collection, recovery, recycling and remanufacturing targets.

 In addition to these would be  developing a national, regional, district and local action plans as well as mandate plastics waste management plans for institutions and industry.

The new policy he said would ensure that a national communications and education strategy is established, update school curriculum and infrastructure, encourage alternative materials, promote local research and development in plastic management and also develop a resource mobilisation strategy.

Touching on other areas, he said his outfit had launched an integrated E-waste Management Programme and soon an E-waste recycling facility would be established at Agbogbloshi in Accra.

He said so far three National Awareness Creation programmes had been undertaken in Accra, Takoradi and Tamale to educate the public on the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act of 2016, Act 917.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng said

 that his ministry was doing a lot to ensure that the President’s vision of Ghana Beyond Aid was realised as a result it was important for stakeholders to pay particular attention to that sector.  

By Cliff Ekuful

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