The Korle-Naa beach in Accra has been cleared of tons of plastic bottles that had been washed ashore over time. It took the collective efforts of Hipsters of Nature an environmental NGO, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and Zoomlion Ghana Limited with support from the European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana to clean the beach.
The exercise, dubbed “Hani w) loo” (a Ga expression meaning let’s collect) was under the theme; “Plastic waste collection and re-use for better life”. It formed part of a global campaign by the European Union to curb the danger posed by plastic waste to the ocean, and was aimed at keeping beaches clean while raising awareness about the negative effects of pollution on our environment.
In a brief remark, the Head of the EU Delegation to Ghana, Ambassador William Hanna said the European Union has long been committed to global efforts to tackle climate change and felt the need to support local partners to implement programmes to protect the environment.
He said; “This is part of a world-wide effort. Our staff has been cleaning beaches all over the world, in Belgium, and more recently in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea. This is one ocean. It is up to all of us to work together to keep it clean”. Ambassador William Hanna stressed that plastic waste can be recycled and urged Ghanaians not to throw it away.
The Mayor of Accra, Hon. Mohammed Adjei Sowah, reiterated his commitment to transform the capital city into a sustainable smart city devoid of chaos and filth as part of efforts to attain the President’s vision of making the city of Accra the cleanest on the continent.
He pointed out that the achievement of this vision will require attitudinal change, “the fight against filth can largely be won when we change our attitudes. The plastic waste you see here is a manifestation of the lifestyle of the people of Accra. This refuse was not dumped here. It comes through the Korle Lagoon any time it rains”.
He gave the assurance that the AMA will continue enforcement of the sanitation bye-laws and provide the logistics and equipment to dispose of refuse appropriately. “But the most important thing is for us to change our attitude towards waste disposal” he stressed.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Frimpong Boateng emphasized the need for Ghanaians to refrain from throwing away their plastic waste. He said; “the effect of plastic waste on marine life is enormous. Our fishermen do not catch enough fish when they go fishing. What they get in their nets are plastic bottles”. He stated that MESTI will continue to collaborate with relevant stakeholders to continue public education on the effect of plastic waste on the environment.
The Ambassadors of France, Germany and the Netherlands took an active part in the clean up as well as the Charges d’affaires of Denmark and Hungary. The event attracted hundreds of participants from organizations such as the Rotary Club of Spintex, Monitoring for Environment and Security in Africa (MESA) – University of Ghana, the Youth Employment Agency, Public schools in James Town and Nima, Embassies of EU Member States and like-minded countries, community leaders and individuals from surrounding communities as well as the media.
At the end of the ceremony Hipsters of Nature showed how plastic bottles can be recycled to make objects that are useful rather than polluting the beaches.