BY: LAWRETTA SELORM BENSAH
The Director of Research and Policy Planning for the National Reuse and Recyclers Association, Mr. Ibrahim Musah has decried government’s withdrawal of its support for the recycling industry in Ghana. According to him, plastic waste is a huge economic venture but has been ignored by both the ruling government and presiding governments.
“So far we haven’t been very happy of government’s response. One key area that we, in the plastic industry have a major compliant with government is the fact that government introduced this environmental exercise – 10% of the value of all plastic that are imported in this country. And so much money in several millions, money in excess of 80million or so collected into this fund and this fund is supposed to be used to facilitate or promote recycling,” he said.
“Unfortunately, anytime we ask for where this money is, response from government is, “we should just forget about it and go elsewhere.” But how can we forget about money deducted for us to be invested in recycling and matters relating to environmental sanitation,” he added.
Further speaking in an interview with GIJ Online News, he advised government to introduce some form of tax policies for investors in the plastic industry.
MACHINES FOR RECYCLING
According to him, another challenge faced by most recyclers was with the equipment used in recycling plastics.
“As you see we are very few. Why because the cost of equipment is an issue,” he hinted.
“We are organsing various individuals into smaller groups to form corporate groups that can actually go for recycling equipment; and as an association we try to facilitate these discussions with the manufacturers so that we can get recycling equipment at subsidized rates or have very attractive payment plans for people to go into the recycling of waste,” he explained.
“What we are doing as an organization is to point at the business opportunities in the collection, reduction, reuse, and recycling of plastics,” he added.
Reiterating the negative impact of plastic waste in the country, Mr. Ibrahim Musah said plastics contributed to the problems we faced with flooding and environmental sanitation because they were visible and non-degradable.
“Where our frustration lies is that we see this this problem to be solvable, very solvable. If only government demonstrates the will. Because Ministry of Local Government’s significant proportion of their budget goes to paying waste collectors. And the sad thing is that we are collecting the waste and dumping them at the landfill. Right now which serious country is doing landfill?” he queried.
“Look at where the Kpong landfill is, it’s full. Other countries do what we call urban mining. They go to the landfill and see what they can recover from it. But we sit here and watch news; and what we say is, “it is a problem” and sometimes “let’s ban it”. How can you just start banning plastic waste? It shows really how little effort is put into thinking through some of the solutions,” he fumed.
“Why should we be famous for putting together beautiful policies that are not followed up with visible implementation strategies?” he added.
He further advised that people should be encouraged into plastic scavenging as a business.