16 March 2017

Ghana: Segregate Refuse for Easy Recycling

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called on the general public to separate their wastes for easy collection and reprocessing.

According the agency if households, schools, industries and organisations separate waste from source, refuse recycling becomes less costive, and the public, as well, could generate revenue, especially from plastic waste.

Godson Cudjoe Voado, Chief Programme Officer of the EPA, said the agency is currently carrying out a pilot programme in some areas of Accra, where people are being encouraged to segregate paper, leftover foods, plastic and sand into different waste bins.

He indicated that if the pilot programme becomes successful, it would be deployed in other regions of the country, adding that this healthy management of waste would lead to 90 per cent of all refuse generated in the country being recycled.

Mr. Cudjoe Voado made this statement at a workshop held by Universal Plastic Products and Recycling Company yesterday in Accra.

"90 per cent of segregated waste would not be paid for. Households would only pay for the 10 per cent, because it will be taken to the engineered landfill site. So, value would be added to whatever is taken from the segregation," he stated.

He asserted that recycling waste is a new area that needs lot of investments to thrive, indicating that most reprocessing companies don't have the capacity to refine rigid plastic for re-use, hence they are compacted and exported to China and Sweden.

Matilda Owusu, Environmental Service Providers Association (ESPA) Consultant, on behalf of plastic collectors and recycling agencies, appealed to the government to grant tax exemptions on logics imported by the waste companies to enable them to assist the EPA on the project.

She stated that poor plastic waste management challenge facing the nation can only be resolved if duties on machines and other forms of logistics are totally waived.

Ms. Owusu stated that GH¢1.2 million revenue can be generated from plastic waste, if well harnessed, and if government takes the initiative to empower the private sector on recycling plastics, a whooping GH¢10 million spent on importing fresh plastic product could be saved into the country's coffers.

She, however, argued against the call for a ban on plastic use in the country, saying malleable substances had created jobs for many who can't find work placement in the formal or informal sectors, stressing, "I don't think banning plastic is a sustainable decision."

Since 17 per cent of waste generated in the country is plastic, Ms. Matilda rather appealed to the various districts assemblies to enforce the by-laws, to compel people to apply for waste bins, to enable easy collection.

She emphasised that waste can properly be managed when the citizens have been well sensitised on better ways to handle it.

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