Parliament has observed World Environment Day by calling for serious measures to deal with the plastic menace in Ghana that had been a challenge for years.
Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Science and Technology, Mr. Kyeremanteng Agyarko in a statement on the floor of the House noted that 1.7 million tonnes of plastic is produced in Ghana each year.
According to the Chairman, only two percent of the plastic waste are recycled leaving majority of the plastic waste in our environment causing a lot of disease and other environmental hazards.
He called on authorities to regulate and check the plastic waste menace by regulating and controlling the use of plastic.
He noted that “each year 8 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the oceans. We buy one million plastic bottles every minute. Past efforts to deal with plastic menace has not achieved any results. We should find new and innovative ways in dealing with it. Plastic must be considered as resources rather than pollutants. There should be intensified education to change attitude in the use of plastic and manufacturers should be tasked to produce biodegradable plastics”
The Chairman again stated that the use of plastic to boost production of energy should be given a second look. He urged all MPs to join in the advocacy for attitudinal change.
Honourable Member of Parliament for Bawku Central constituency, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, in his submission indicated that plastics are very light and can be scattered to other areas if not properly managed and can be a real eye saw in certain communities.
He reiterated that “if you go to the Northern part of Ghana and many rural areas during the dry season, the amount of plastics littered all over the place is very scary. Apart from the fact that such plastics breed mosquitoes, many of the rural communities that rear animals are now being threatened by the plastic products. Cattle in search of pasture end up swallowing the plastics and many of them die. As for the cities, the flooding that we experience perennially is a result of the plastic menace that go to choke the gutters. City planners try to clean them up but the plastic menace undermines their effort”.
He again added that the plastic menace is a major national crisis and the nation must sit up to try and deal with the problem.
In his concluding submission, he informed the House that manufacturers of plastics have been mandated to use Oxo-biodegradable additives to help in automatic biodegrading after a certain period of time. He urged the Environmental Protection Agency is to enforce the regulation.