It will however take a definite decision on which specific plastics to ban after further consultation with stakeholders in the plastic industry in two weeks time.
Plastics have become a major component of waste in the country. Its impact on the environment is evident in the perennial flooding and non-communicable diseases the country has had to battle with.
At a round table discussion with stakeholders on the way forward, the Minister of Environment Science, Technology and Innovation, Mahama Ayariga, said the focus will now be on the production of bio-degradable plastics.
The stakeholders are recommending a ban on polythene bags between 20 and 30 microns thick. Mr. Ayariga said there cannot be an immediate and total ban on all plastic bags because there are lots of business activities that use plastic bags.
“For now there will be a partial ban but it will be between 20 or 30 microns. It will include plastics sixty microns and below, such as all water sachet and black plastic shopping bags. We also need to cultivate a culture of waste separation at source nationwide through public education and sensitization. From tomorrow (Friday July 17), manufacturers should start producing bio-degradable. That directive will be properly formulated and communicated to the manufacturers” the Minister stated.
Present at the media briefing were stakeholders including, private producers of plastic products, MMDAs, EPA and other corporate bodies.
The directive is part of several recommendations made by a committee on the proposed banning of plastics in Ghana set up in 2010.
The Minister advocated the increase in per capita waste generated as raw material for recycling companies.
“The consensus around this table is that, per capita waste here is lower than most places where you have these recycling plants being successful and so we need to find a way of making sure that as we promote recycling plants, we also protect the market for recycling plants”.
Stakeholders at the meeting agreed, manufacturing biodegradable products was the way to go.
” It’s very important because there are hundreds of people engaged in the manufacturing of plastics so you do not want to make people unemployed especially in this environment. So I think the meeting is in order. The discipline aspect of the society in terms of waste disposal should be focused on and we should do fine as a country” a stakeholder said.
A policy document is to be drafted to expedite enforcement of the recommendations.