Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has stressed that it would not be prudent for Ghana to ban plastic materials at this time.
He cautioned against the wholesale banning of plastics, explaining that government believes that the wholesale ban will not be in the interest of the nation.
The Minister observed how a ban on plastic products in Rwanda has led to the smuggling of plastic products from DR Congo and Uganda into that country.
He argued that plastic products were not bad, but their management was a challenge, and, therefore, called for a circular plastic economy.
Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, speaking at the ‘Meet the Press’ series in Accra yesterday, revealed that a final draft plastic management policy, with its implementation plan, has been submitted to Cabinet for approval.
According to him, the new policy on plastic waste management would be grounded on five focal points: attitudinal change, good governance, cross-sectorial collaboration, accelerate innovation, and transition towards a circular economy.
He said the Government of Ghana, as part of efforts to manage plastic wastes in the country, has set up a plastic levy.
According to him, a bank account has been created at Bank of Ghana, where persons who import plastic products into Ghana would be made to pay a particular amount of money towards the management of plastic wastes.
National Biodiversity Policy
The Minister announced that the government, through MESTI, had developed a draft National Biodiversity Policy, which would ensure the conservation and sustainable utilisation of biodiversity as a national heritage for equitable benefits to present and future generations of Ghanaians.
The objectives of the policy, he said, were to mainstream biodiversity conservation issues into all sectors of the economy, improve the status of biodiversity, and to promote the sustainable utilisation of biodiversity.
“The development of the Biodiversity Policy has become more critical in recent times, given the rate at which we are losing our biological resources to exotic species,” he said.
Professor Frimpong-Boateng said because of the importance of biodiversity to the survival of humans and plants, there was the urgent need for all and sundry to help promote local and indigenous biodiversity for food and nutrition.
He said all over the world, countries had witnessed the disappearance of a number of indigenous crop varieties and medicines, which had given rise to the disappearing of agro-biodiversity, with essential knowledge of traditional medicine and local food being on the decline.
He said research had also indicated that the loss of diverse diets was directly linked to disease or health risk factors such as diabetes, obesity and malnutrition, and also had direct impact on the availability of traditional medicines.
Ghana as a state party to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity was equally challenged with an increasing taste of Ghanaians for exotic foods and medicines at the expense of the indigenous dishes and medicines, which was evident in the food menus for most restaurants in the country.
“Even in our homes, parents are under pressure to serve junk foods at the expense of our rich and nutritious indigenous dishes with ingredients such as kontomire, mushrooms, snails, etc, due to their busy schedules.
“On a large scale, the problem has been compounded by the effects of climate change and the use of arable land for construction and other purposes”, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said.
According to the Minister, Ghana’s transition to green economy and the attainment of the SDGs could not be achieved without its dependency on its rich indigenous foods and medicine.
He said there was the need for an integrated system to embrace the consumption of indigenous food and medicines, which would serve as a catalyst for Ghana to attain its aspirations of becoming a country beyond aid.
The Minister advised the citizenry to particularly take action in reducing the consumption of red meat, and eat and purchase seasonal foods while resorting to buying local foods.
He said people should also learn to reduce food wastage, compost their food scraps, reduce food packaging by using reusable bags or reusing glass jars or containers, as well as avoid single-use plastics such as straws, disposable cups and cutlery, take-away Styrofoam containers or plastic water bottles.
Source: The Finder