Time to Ban Single Use Plastics in Ghana – Adu Koranteng to Govt

‘The situation is embarrassing   and is making life uncomfortable for residents and visitors. It is also portraying a bad and negative image of Ghana on the global tourism area.’

A Financial and Economic Journalist is requesting the President to take  the bold decision to place a ban on single use plastics to save the environment, the ecological and marine systems as well as human lives.

According to him, Sanitation problem in the country  is gradually becoming disappointing by the day as it poses serious health threats to residents.

He said many plastic bottles, takeaway packs, pure water sachets, polythene bags, human excreta and all types of waste have choked gutters in Ghana’s political capital Accra, Kumasi, Takoradi and parts of the country, including farms, rivers and streams.

‘The situation is embarrassing   and is making life uncomfortable for residents and visitors. It is also portraying a bad and negative image of Ghana on the global tourism area.’

He said the fight against indiscriminate dumping of refuse on the streets is not yielding   positive results and drastic measures ought to be taken to curtail the menace.

We need to ban single use plastics if we cannot totally ban plastics in the country. We need to save the fishes in the sea. We need to save the forest reserves that are being engulfed with plastic filth and garbage. We need to free our gutters and drains, streams and rivers from choked plastics   and one of the ways is  to ban the use of  the single use plastics .

According to him, the reason why government has not been able to ban plastics is the huge taxes it earns from the importation of such plastics. Government must  be bold and ban the plastics .

Experts say  Germany   is   one of the countries that have banned some single-use plastic products, through regulations that came into force on July 3, while France, Greece, and Ireland are among those that have gone even further, by expanding the EU’s list of banned plastic products or introducing additional measures to curb single-use plastics.

When the whole world is fighting the good fight for a cleaner eco-friendly life, Africa is taking things one step ahead of everyone and setting a new bar for the whole world. Out of 170 nations that pledged to ban the single-use plastic, around 77 of them have passed full or partial ban, 34 countries are from Africa alone.

Countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Mali, Cameroon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, South Africa, Rwanda and Botswana have strict policies on use of single-use plastic. They are either completely banned or the government levies a very high tax on them.

What Are Single-Use Plastics?

Single-use plastics are goods that are made primarily from fossil fuel–based chemicals (petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of right after use—often, in mere minutes. Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and service ware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.

Why Is Single-Use Plastic Bad?

Single-use plastics are a glaring example of the problems with throwaway culture. Instead of investing in quality goods that will last, we often prioritize convenience over durability and consideration of long-term impacts. Our reliance on these plastics means we are accumulating waste at a staggering rate. We produce 300 million tons of plastic each year worldwide, half of which is for single-use items. That’s nearly equivalent to the weight of the entire human population.

Reducing plastic use is the most effective means of avoiding this waste (and the impacts linked to plastic production and use). Carrying reusable bags and bottles is one great way to avoid single-use plastics in our day-to-day lives; more on preventing plastic waste can be found below.

Recycling more plastic, more frequently, reduces its footprint. Polyethylene terephthalate, one of the most commonly recycled plastics and the material that makes up most water and soda bottles, can be turned into everything from polyester fabric to automotive parts. But a whopping 91 percent of all plastic isn’t recycled at all. Instead it ends up in landfills or in the environment. Single-use plastics in particular—especially small items like straws, bags, and cutlery—are traditionally hard to recycle because they fall into the crevices of recycling machinery and therefore are often not accepted by recycling centers.

Left alone, plastics don’t really break down; they just break up. Over time, sun and heat slowly turn plastics into smaller and smaller pieces until they eventually become what are known as microplastics. These microscopic plastic fragments, no more than 5 millimeters long, are hard to detect—and are just about everywhere. Some microplastics are even small by design, like the microbeads used in facial scrubs or the microfibers in polyester clothing. They end up in the water, eaten by wildlife, and inside our bodies. They’ve even made their way up to the secluded Pyrenees mountain range and down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. For wildlife, microplastics can be particularly dangerous; when eaten they can easily accumulate inside an animal’s body and cause health issues, like punctured organs or fatal intestinal blockages.

Exposure to microplastics, as well as the chemicals that are added to plastics during processing, harm our health. Many of the chemicals in plastics are known endocrine disruptors,and research has suggested that human exposure could cause health impacts including hormonal imbalances, reproductive problems like infertility, and even cancer. The phthalate DEHP, as just one example from dozens, is often added to plastic goods like shower curtains and garden hoses to make them more flexible—but was also found to be a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although single-use plastic pollution accumulates most visibly on our streets, in fact our water suffers even more. Litter can be the first stage in a waste stream that enters waterways as plastics tossed on the street are washed away by rain or travel via storm drains into rivers and streams. Our waterway plastic pollution is particularly concentrated: Just ten rivers carry 93 percent of the world’s total amount of plastic that enters the oceans via rivers each year.

In 2015 researchers from the University of Georgia estimated that between 4.8 million and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic per year make their way into the oceans via people living within 30 miles of a coast. The majority of this pollution—dominated by single-use plastic waste—comes from countries lacking infrastructure to properly manage waste, particularly in Asia. India, for example, generates 25,940 tons of plastic waste every day but collects only 60 percent of it. (It’s also important to remember that waste management is just one part of the global materials cycle. For instance, a lot of the plastic produced in Asian countries is for products that serve U.S. demand—and the United States often sends plastic waste back to these countries for recycling.)

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