The Mayor of Accra, Elizabeth Kwatsoe Tawiah Sackey has urged Ghanaians to work collectively towards revitalising the ocean by ending plastic pollution which is a major threat to the marine environment.
According to her, “the oceans were crying and require our help stressing that human activities such as dumping refuse into drains, indiscriminate dumping of waste in open spaces, littering among others have harmed the ocean and the aquatic species.”
The Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) said this on Wednesday at an event held in Accra to commemorate this year’s World Environment Day under the global theme, “Revitalisation: Collective Action for the Ocean”.
World Environment Day was proclaimed by the United Nations, during the Stockholm Conference in 1972 to highlight and create regular public awareness and sensitisation on critical environmental challenges facing the planet.
The Mayor of Accra who chaired the event stressed the need for attitudinal change among Ghanaians to help keep the city and ocean clean.
“Now the world is changing, our oceans are crying, they need breathing space and we all have a part to play so let’s join hands and collectively support the government in addressing the challenge… Our habit of dumping in drains and open spaces contributes to the plastic waste and other unwanted materials in our oceans… #BorlaInDrainsMustStopNow to curb this issue and so I would want to admonish you all to rally around this campaign,” she said.
She used the opportunity to urge stakeholders and the general public to adhere to the assembly’s Sanitation Byelaws adding that some 115 persons were prosecuted during the first quarter of this year for various sanitation offences.
Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation(MESTI), Hon. Dr Kwaku Afriyie on his part called for an intense public campaign to cultivate a positive attitude towards plastic management in the country.
“The ocean is important for our food security. The information available reveals that annual fish yield in the Guinea Current region alone is more than 1.5 million metric tonnes, and Ghana contributes about 400,000 metric tonnes”, he averred.
The Minister attributed the current state of the ocean to the unregulated urban settlements and inappropriate waste management practices adding that some interventions by the government to help revitalise the health of Ghana’s degraded marine ecosystems were education on waste segregation and proper disposal of waste, delineate the country into grades for proper collection as well as storage and recycling of plastics among others.
“Revitalization is the goal and collective actions are how we will make it happen. Hence, the strongest governments on earth cannot solely clean up the menace of marine pollution by themselves. They must rely on each ordinary person including you and me to achieve the desired results.
The current state of oceans management in the country requires an intense public campaign to engage citizens, businesses, schools, hospitals, and other institutions, especially the Media to cultivate a positive attitude towards working collaboratively to beat the menace of marine pollution in Ghana and sustainably manage our wonderful marine resources for future generations and national sustainable development” he said.
This year, a ceremony, which brought together a variety of critical stakeholders from both the public and private sector including representatives of security agencies, fisherfolk from local fishing communities as well as pupils from some basic schools, was put together by MESTI on Wednesday to commemorate the event in Accra.