Thursday, 12 March 2009

IN some parts of Europe and North America, waste is regarded as wealth because it is the raw material transformed for wealth creation.

In many parts of Africa, however, waste, particularly plastic waste, is a complete menace because of the tonnes and tonnes of the plastic waste that have engulfed our towns and cities, besides choking our drainage systems and littering our streets and beaches.

In Ghana, for instance, the plastic waste menace is so acute an embarrassment that many high profile individuals and institutions are terse with their sentiments and comments.

Vice President John Dramani Mahama is reported to have told a national forum on environmental sanitation in Accra last Tuesday  that: “The time has come for us to take a decision on plastic waste management and A BAN ON PLASTIC IS NOT OUT OF THE QUESTION (caps ours).

Indeed, he emphasized that  he was not averse to a ban on plastic production in the country.

For the Vice President, however, the real challenge is:  “how to deal with the huge garbage we produce”.

For a solution, he  called for more investment in the waste sector, contending that “the waste management industry offers many business opportunities which should be harnessed.”

Much as the Times is equally not happy about the growing filth in the country, with its attendant plastic waste menace, we will proffer to stick with the Vice President in recommending a critical rethinking the challenge of  how to deal with the huge garbage we produce, instead of contemplating banning the production and use of polythene bags in the country.

Plastic experts contend that the menace of plastic waste in the country can be controlled if proper technologies are applied to complement the works of plastic waste recycling companies.

For instance, according to plastic experts, an addictive material (oxo-biodegrable) could make plastics like water sachets and plastic carrier bags decompose within 180 days after their disposal whilst usually, ordinary plastic bags are said to last for about 500 (five hundred) years without decomposing.

And the business opportunities plastic waste offer? Many. For instance, at Aboransa, a small community in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality in the Central Region, a plastic revolution is unfolding.

Indeed, a private plastic recycling factory, facilitated by the KEEA Municipal Assembly is ready to commence business.

The Aboransa plastic recycling factory is slated to produce plastic roofing sheets and plastic pavement blocks from PLASTIC WASTE.  It is also slated to employ directly and  indirectly, about 3,000 people when in full stream.

It is the view of the Times that if we rethink as a nation and apply proper technologies to control the plastic waste menace and encourage the plastic waste recycling companies in Ghana, more investors will surely be attracted to the waste sector.

We whole-heartedly agree with Vice President Dramani Mahama that “the waste management industry offers many business opportunities which must be harnessed.”

Government, we also think, should offer solid and attractive incentives for the private sector to venture fully into the waste sector since it is a fertile avenue to create jobs for the many unemployed youth in the country.

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