The first in a series of two stakeholder engagements to discuss and find practical measures on reducing the usage of single-use plastics among the populace in Ghana has been held in Accra.
The discussions, which are being organised by the CUTS Ghana, research, advocacy and consumer protection organisation in collaboration with Consumer International, aim to raise consumer awareness on the adverse effect single-use plastics have on the environment; and to significantly reduce if not eliminate its usage in the country.
It also seeks to promote the habit of sharing resources among the community to get people to use fewer plastic bags or buy bags that are made of bio-degradable products such as paper or jute.
The Stakeholder engagement forms part of a series of activities to mark this year’s Green Action Week under the theme ‘Community Sharing’. Other activities such as community engagement through outreach programmes, media campaigns, and advocacy are to be held in Kasoa in the coming days.
In an address to open the discussion in Accra, the Country Director of CUTS, Appiah Kusi Adomako opined that with the increasing use of natural resources and the ever-growing amounts of waste generated in Accra alone, it is clear that our current way of consuming and producing plastic waste has to change fundamentally.
“There is the need to intensify grassroots and community engagement, especially among women, children, and the youth to drum home the rippling effects of our unsustainable plastics consumption patterns and lifestyles. We are advocating for behavioural changes in adopting best waste disposal and reduction practices among all sections of the population” he added.
“The Government in its 2021 fiscal policy introduced a consumption tax on a fuel called “plastic levy.” The essence of the levy is to help the state mobilise revenues to clean the constant pile-up of plastic waste in the country. This is a good initiative and I call on the government to use the funds raised for the purpose for which it was mobilized,” he added.
On his path, the Communication and Advocacy Lead of CUTS Ghana, Mr. Shadrack Nii Yarboi Yartey said plastic usage and its disposals have not only become an environmental and health threat but also a financial burden to Ghanaians. In some cases, shops and businesses surcharge customers extra for polythene or other plastic bags; this comes at a cost to the consumer.
“The constant pile-up of single-use plastics around the capital and in gutters is a worrying trend, pragmatic measures ought to be implemented by all to reverse this unsustainable culture; hence this campaign,” he added.
Mr Yartey opined that evidence suggests that a significant reduction and responsible usage of plastics helps, in the long run, to reduce the amount of waste that it is generated and at the same reduces the overexposure of the poor and the marginalised to taxes and additional surcharges.
Government should dialogue with all stakeholders on a possible ban of single-use plastics in the country as this will go a long way to redress the plastic menace in the country.