The Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association (GPMA) has appealed to the government to urgently consider regulations for the incorporation of biodegradable additives in the production of plastic carrier bags, water pouches and agricultural films.
The Association also proposed that through the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, the Government makes compliance with such regulations a pre-requisite for renewal of license of plastic manufacturers to serve as incentive for the manufacturers to comply with regulations on the use of biodegradable additives.
Mr Johnson Oduro, Executive Director of Society for Managing Initiatives and Leadership Enhancement (SMILE), Ghana, told the Ghana News Agency in Accra.
He said through the technical assistance of SMILE, Ghana, with sponsorship from the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, GPMA would undertake an advocacy action for the passage of a legislation to make it mandatory for the use of biodegradable plastic additives in the production of plastic carrier bags, water pouches and agricultural films.
“Through this action, GPMA is ready to initiate consultative and consensus building processes with stakeholders in the plastic industry as well as Duty Bearers to explore strategies of encouraging manufacturers to adopt the technology and sustain its use,” he said.
Mr Oduro said though GPMA acknowledged that a successful plastic waste management strategy in Ghana would rely on a desired behavior change from the general population, it was of the strong conviction that the passage of an appropriate legislation for the mandatory use of biodegradable plastic additives in production would effectively deal with the current plastic waste menace, which the Local Government Agencies are using huge national resources to deal with.
“GPMA is, therefore, calling on Government, Parliament, Civil Society, stakeholders in the plastic industry in Ghana to support this action so that together we can find not only a cost-effective but also a sustainable and environmentally friendly and safe plastic waste management to safeguard our environment and business,” he said.
Biodegradable plastic materials are reported to have a strong market niche in many significant areas such as check-out bags, agricultural films and many other sectors.
In some countries, biodegradable additives have become an important product of choice in a broad variety of plastic products and their continuing growth is a testament to the efficacy in the right applications.
In countries like the United Arab Emirate, Argentina, Mexico, Greece, Yemen, Brazil and Italy, passage of pro-biodegradable plastic additive legislation is evidence of growing acceptance of the concept.
In recent times, plastics have become a dominant medium of packaging largely due to it affordability, hygiene and convenience. Unfortunately, however, the massive demand for and use of plastics has brought in its wake a major national waste management challenge resulting from the poor end of life management of plastics.
In Ghana, its non-biodegradability resulting in its high visibility and the resultant adverse effects on the environment, agriculture and livestock have given it the notoriety as a major pollutant in our physical environment.
Over the past decade, various initiatives have been undertaken by Governmental authorities, GPMA and other stakeholders, including the National Association of Sachet Water Producers towards finding a sustainable solution to the plastic waste management threat Ghana is saddled with.