A couple of days ago, the Daily Graphic published a large collection of plastic materials that had heaped up at one of the beaches in Accra, as a result of the Wednesday, June 3 heavy downpour in the capital.
The picture as published by the paper was a complete eyesore and exposed the reckless manner plastics are disposed of in this country. The indiscriminate littering by both the educated, illiterates and the downtrodden is gradually leading this country into Armageddon.
It based on this that The Chronicle called for the banning of all plastic materials in the country. If the people are not prepared to change their habit when it comes to disposal of waste, the best option is to target the source of that waste and deal with it. As we had previously argued in this column, polythene are non-bio degradable products, which apart from the dangers it poses to the environment, is also a threat to the very survival of domestic and wild animals.
It was, therefore, our considered view that the product be banned outright and instead paper products, which are bio degradable introduced. But speaking to journalists in Accra over the weekend, a Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Nii Lantey Vanderpuiye argued that his ministry had also conceived the idea of banning polythene or plastics products, but at the moment there was no option available and that they have shelved the idea.
According to him, until a Ghanaian company was able to produce paper bags up to the quantity the country would need on daily basis, banning the plastic bags would be a suicide mission, even though he admits the havoc these products are causing the nation. Much as this explanation from the Deputy Minister sounds good on paper, The Chronicle still disagrees with him.
Having admitted that the source of cholera and flooding in Accra is the indiscriminate disposal of the plastics, the ministry has the duty to craft a policy that would ban its use. In her desire to ensure that more Ghanaians owned road construction firms in the country, both the previous and current governments decided to help these firms procure earth moving machines to execute road construction works awarded them by the government.
Under the agreement, the cost of these machines is deducted at source when the payment for the project is being effected. If Nii Lantey and his ministry are desirous of banning the plastic or polythene products, they could also adopt this strategy by securing funding for Ghanaian companies to produce the paper products and deduct the cost at source.
This policy would not only ensure the growth of Ghanaian companies but also help to eliminate the canker associated with the polythene bags in the country. This is not the time to throw one’s hand in despair but the moment to think outside the box.
As Dr. Mensah Otabil has always been saying, we need generational thinkers if this country is to succeed. This is what Nii Lantey and his boss, Alhaji Colins Dauda must do. They have not been appointed to talk about problems but to find lasting solutions to these problems.
Source: The Chronicle
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