Waste management is a collective responsibility- Mr Dery

Mr Peter Dery, Director in-charge of Climate Change Sustainability at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said waste management should be the responsibility of all and sundry to ensure clean environment. Mr Dery expressed concern about indiscriminate disposal of plastic wastes on the environment, adding that the situation has resulted in choked gutters, flooding and other health related issues, affecting development. He was speaking during a panel discussion in Accra on Ghana Journalists Association programme dubbed: �Business Advocate� on Ghana Television supported by BUSAC Fund, Denmark Embassy and United States Agency for International Development. Mr Dery said government decision to ban the use of light plastic materials with less than 20 microns such as ones used in packaging sugar, gari and porridge is to address the environmental challenges the country is faced with. He said the ban would take effect from November and manufacturers of the plastic bags must ensure that all products that did not meet the standards are disposed of before the deadline. Mr Dery said every plastic that is produced for packaging, must have a biodegradable material in it. He called for stakeholders� dialogue to find lasting solutions to the menace of plastic waste which had engulfed the country for many years. Mr Dery urged plastic manufacturers not to panic since the decision for the ban is to address environmental concerns in the country. Mr Daniel Tornyigah, Executive Secretary of Ghana Plastic Manufacturers� Association said for government to use the word ban on plastic waste was harsh since the association generates 33 per cent of the country�s labour force. �The ban is not the solution but more importantly government must resort to education and realistic ways of ensuring waste management,� he added. He said there is the need to approach the issue holistically, by exploring innovative ways to manage plastic waste. Mr Tornyigah noted that other innovative way of dealing with plastic waste, is the introduction of biodegradable plastics into the country. Mr Godson Cudjoe Voado, Chief Programme Officer at Environmental Protection Agency said there is the need to establish more recycling plants across the country to recycle the plastics into other useable products such as waste bins and plastic bowls.