No ban on plastics � Deputy Minister

Quantities of additives would be included in the production of plastics to make them biodegradable and environmentally friendly, Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, said at a public forum in Accra on Friday. Delivering a presentation on the theme of the forum, �Cleaning the Environment - The case for biodegradables�, Dr Boamah said the reason for the introduction of biodegradable products into the Ghanaian market, therefore, is not to ban plastics but to complement and help manage the waste they generate. He said the use of plastics should not be demonised because it ushered the nation from the use of eating and drinking from infected leaves and cups. However, he admitted that plastic waste management continued to be a problem in Ghana. The introduction of internationally approved biodegradable products into the country was welcome news, he said, and noted that it would still be subjected to Ghanaian standards. The Deputy Minister was of the view that Ghanaians needed to appreciate the world they lived in saying, �We need to hand over to generations after us a better world than we came to meet it but unfortunate that is not the case�. Dr Boamah sensitized the audience on Climate Change, and explained that vehicular and other emissions emitted into the air formed a thick film which made it difficult for the sun�s rays to penetrate, thus causing changes in the climate patterns of nations. When this happened the cold places on earth became warmer and vice versa, he said, and noted that this could mean that the west could experience Africa�s diseases, epidemic and pandemics while Africa could also experience the tsunamis, hurricanes and other epidemic of the west. It was for this reason that any effort that seeks to address climate change should be supported to make the world a safer and better place, he said, and welcomed to Ghana RETURN2GREEN (R2G) International�s idea of making Ghana a biodegradable hub in the West African sub-region. The R2G group are in the country to help make plastic materials bio-degradable by adding additives to them alongside the introduction of biodegradable products which are eco-friendly. Biodegradable products are made from renewable sources, and all are made from 100% eco-friendly, biodegradable materials. Mr. David Ludwick, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of R2G international, said at the forum that biodegradable products are 10 per cent eco-friendly and superior in design and performance to their less environmentally friendly counterparts. R2G, he said, was a company committed to replacing non-biodegradable products and in many cases toxic-disposable products used for food packaging, food service, product packaging and medical applications with their biodegradable alternatives. The problem of plastics was a global situation that needed urgent attention, Mr. Ludwick said. �The processes of manufacturing biodegradable products are the same and the customer gets the same product. We are fully capable of creating customized products per a client�s requirements� He said making products biodegradable made them decompose within one to five years but noted that biodegradable products made from organic material took only 45 days to decompose and turn into manure to enrich the soil. We are offering a better solution, he said, and added that it was for that reason that R2G felt there was no reason for distributors or end-users of disposable food service, medical and interior packaging products to be selling or using anything other than 100% biodegradable and environmentally safe products. The President of the African University College of Communication and founder of Africa 2 Green, Mr. Kojo Yankah, said their mission was to raise awareness about biodegradable products using cutting-edged channels of communication, and to facilitate the distribution, marketing, sale and manufacture of biodegradable products throughout Africa, especially in the West Africa sub-region.