GRIPE calls for sustainable plastic management

Plastic waste has been a big problem over the years in Ghana Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE), a coalition of manufacturing companies under the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), is calling for a strengthened commitment to sustainable plastic management, rather than an outright banning of plastic in Ghana.

This call was made at a highly interactive one-day workshop on sustainable plastic management for media and academia last week, at the Bank of Ghana Auditorium, University of Ghana.

GRIPE acknowledges the important role plastic plays in this era of urbanisation and modernisation in relation to food storage and packaging, as it considers the plastic industry’s rapid growth in Ghana.

The workshop emphasised the opportunities and prospects for the plastic industry, and the need to strengthen commitment for sustainability in plastic management, rather than an outright ban on plastic.

Dr. Johnson Essuman, Department of Political Science, UG, in a presentation on the topic ‘Plastic packaging and food safety’ indicated that in the absence of an effective system to monitor the quality of plastic packing as food contact material, lack of management for post-consumer single-use plastic packaging – and human factors such as indiscriminate disposal of plastic waste, are the major challenges to the sector.

He also stated that an effective solution to plastic management requires technical or engineering control; such as redesigning existing recycling systems, and appropriate, efficient tools or equipment.

Others are: behaviour/attitudinal change on the side of manufacturers, consumers, retailers and transporters; and management systems including leadership, institutions, accountability, standards and procedures.

“The importance of plastic packaging is widespread and in response to modern lifestyle requirements – of which some are making food processing effective and efficient; making consumer goods readily available everywhere; creates choice, keeps cost down; boosts economies and creates employment; reduces food waste and loss; and is generally a safe food-contact material,” he explained.

Despite the growth, benefits and conveniences addressed, plastic – especially single-use plastic – poses immense challenges to the environment due to poor management of post-consumer waste.

A UNDP 2017 report indicates that Ghana produces 1.7 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, but less then 5 percent is recycled.

This is characterised by littering of streets and neighbourhoods, choked drains and beaches.The Chief Executive Officer of AGI, Seth Twum Akwaboah said: “We at the AGI have companies that are operating in the whole chain of plastic, and we consider it very necessary to look at plastic as a major resources and […]

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