PRESS STATEMENT ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY
Plastic waste management is of great necessity not for our cities and urban areas but for the rural areas as well. We are always concerned with how we can properly and sustainably manage the tons of plastic waste generated every day to help maintain our environment to save our mother earth and help humans to live a good healthy environment. Plastic pollution however can be attributed the phenomenon of overcrowding in our cities which has caused a rapid increase in the plastic wastes generated. Unfortunately, the amount of plastic waste, one of the most important by-products of an urban lifestyle, is growing even faster than the rate of urbanization.
We have had serveral methods as a nation in trying to dispose off or properly manage this plastic waste mostly through combustion which is not environmentally friendly since it releases carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide is a major contributor to climate change. Also plastic wastes are also used for landfilling and because they are not bio-degradable, they do not decompose.
Some of these plastic waste are dumped into the ocean which become marine debris. Marine debris is a problem that affects these coastal areas and the sea floor at all depths, and its impact is of global significance. It has been recognized as a serious pollutant for over a long time but unfortunately has only gained widespread recognition in the recent decade. This cause habitat destruction by affecting water quality and causing physical damage to sensitive ecosystems.
If the situation is not given the attention it deserves major changes in environmental conditions or interdependent relationships can cause the marine ecosystem to fail and hence affect the coast‘s ability to adequately provide for the plants, animals and humans that depend on it and each other to survive.
In this light, Abibiman Foundation believes that as the world and Ghana marks World Environment Day with the theme ‘’Beat Plastic Pollution’’, intensive education is urgently needed to raise Ghanaians’ awareness of the negative impact of irresponsible waste disposal in general and plastic waste in particular. Education must also be used to forge a positive change in our attitude to plastic waste management mostly among young people.
We believe that a plastic waste management fund should be created to support recycling and upgrading of plastic waste infrastructure to promote private-public partnerships in the development and sustainable management of plastic waste infrastructure in the country. We believe that the fund should be resourced with voluntary contributions from industry and industry players, Government and other donors; and these contributions should be tax exempt.
While there are laws regulating the dumping of trash at sea and on shore, the global nature of marine debris, the inability to confine debris within territorial boundaries and the complexity of identifying debris sources have made effective laws difficult to develop and even harder to enforce. Abibiman Foundation is of the view that, the key to controlling marine litter is to tackle it at source and this is not only consistent with the precautionary principle, but would appear to be the only management option that is economically sustainable in the longer term.
In due course, collaboration and harmonization by the government of Ghana with other riparian countries along the Gulf of Guinea should take the obligatory actions and measures including cleaning campaigns that can help keep the coastline free from marine debris in the long term.
Abibiman Foundation is therefore making a passionate appeal to government, all civil society organizations and the general public to join the campaign to end plastic pollution in our ocean.