The legislators say the plastic waste menace is multifaceted, and demands diverse approaches that include policy solutions, increased awareness, improved design and disposal processes, useful to changing behaviour.
The call follows a statement by Dr. Clement Apaak, Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa South, on the floor of the House, while discussing sanitation challenges in Ghana, and how to mitigate its harmful effects on the environment.
Plastic is the common term for a wide range of synthetic or semi synthetic organic amorphous solid materials derived from oil and natural gas. It’s cheap, versatile, lightweight, and resistant, making it a valuable material for many functions.
Dr. Apaak, added that a major concern about plastics in the waste stream, is their longevity and whether or not they are truly biodegradable.
Most plastics would take 500 to 1000 years to break down into organic components. Because of this longevity and low rate of recycling, a lot of the plastic waste ends up in landfills or as litter in rivers, and finally the ocean.
The debate now lies on whether to ban some types of plastics, or an outright ban on all plastics.
Dr. Apaak suggests that, recycled plastic can be used as filler for cement blocks, ropes, baskets, mats and bags, adding that by using plastic waste for products with monetary value, citizens were incentivized to collect plastics.
He called on individuals to manage plastic waste at the household level, stressing that, effective strategies should be implemented to educate and motivate citizens,in order to effect behavioural change.
Rev John Ntim Fordjour, Member of Parliament for Assin South in his comment called for the enforcement of the existing sanitation laws to ensure the proper disposal of plastic waste.
He said the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE) should be tasked to create awareness among students in the various schools to adhere to the proper disposal of waste.
Dr. Rashid Pelpuo, MP for Wa Central, identified the inability of the country to manage the plastic waste as a major problem facing the nation, and pointed out that indiscipline and the lack of awareness among the people was also a key challenge, in properly disposing plastic waste.
He called on the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology to bring a policy to Parliament, on how to transform plastic waste into some beneficial use for the country.