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PLASTIC PRODUCTION TOUR: "It Is Poisonous To Cook/Wrap Food With Plastics"- Dr. Afriyie (PICS)

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie is calling on food vendors to desist from preparing and wrapping foods with plastics since it is poisonous and dangerous to the health of the consumer.

The Minister made these known after he embarked on a facility tour of some plastic production plants in Accra.

Speaking at the tour, the Minister said "You are a criminal if you sit in a trotro and you toss your litter out of the car. We are going to use the force of the law and we want to carry our population behind us. We are using moral suasion and ethical issues. If you boil kenkey with these plastics, which are under 20 microns, you are literally poisoning people. It is poisonous to use plastics to wrap the kenkey we eat. People are not aware. We have to create awareness and give the education and if it persists and if Cape Coast or Amasaman or wherever passes a by-law, that you should not do that and you flout it, then you are a criminal"

The Minister told Journalists although new laws will not be made, he will ensure that the existing laws are intensified.

"As for timelines, I am not doing this alone. I keep on referring to local government, Water and Sanitation, I am even the first shot because the mandate is a spectrum but I suspect that I carry the heaviest burden but I will need my other colleagues too. So it will be inappropriate to give timelines"

"Don't get me wrong, I have looked at the laws and even if they don't collaborate and they are getting something, I have an escape clause where I can do something but I want teamwork"

"With this exercise, the media is a big ally in this fight. I am also confident that all members in parliament will come on board and agree since this does not need a debate.

The Minister further assured that he will see to it that the Industry is not disturbed.

"It is a shared responsibility and we cannot attribute all the guilt to only industry. But that is not to exonerate them. Now that we are here and know the nature of their problem, so if you are an industrial person, and you know that all these steps we are going to take is going to affect you, you have to bring your concerns on board and also tell us, how we can walk through the problem and solve it.

Responding to whatever government will consider banning plastics, he said "We will look at it Even some countries have done it but looking at it, on one hand, we need the plastics. Whiles, we look at that, we have to look at bringing in substitutes"

"Even if it is 4 months, we will walk in tangent with the Industry so they do retooling because those who are doing the microplastics, they can retool bt when you are talking about ban, when we look products and we titrate it and the needs in Ghana, we can say that those who are importing it should go into another business. We can impose a ban on that immediately"

The Minister mentioned that should the need arise, travelers will not be allowed to enter the country with plastics.

"The airlines should carry their litters away. We are not going to carry people's litter. It might be weird but its symbolism can go into the heads of the elite who are on per capital basis, the largest users of plastic products"

The Minister disclosed that global plastics production grew from 1.5 million metric tons per annum in 1950 to 400 million in 2017.

He also noted that production during the last 10 years equaled production during the whole of the 20th century combined.

Dr. Afriyie expressed worry saying it is estimated that global plastics could triple by 2050.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mini Plast, Nadim Ghanem Jr on his part, thanked the Minister for paying a working visit to his outfit.

"My company has been in Ghana for over 90 years. We have been into development projects such as roads and other things and now we are into plastic manufacturing. Our main focus is recycling and manufacturing plastics"

"Mini Plast has thought outside the box and has decided to manufacture things like chairs among others from plastic products. They can be used for a longer time"

He explained that his outfit is not only making good use of recycled products but has also created lots of jobs for many Ghanaian youths.

He also told the Minister that the safety and well-being of the workers are his topmost priority adding that workers have been provided with the necessary and needed logistics.

The Chief Executive Officer of Dophil Roofing System, Dr. Kwaku Adjepong said "We have been in the roofing industry for some time now but we realized that there is the need to take the roofing to a different level so we came up with trying to solve a problem by using waste in the system"

He told the Minister that Dophil has converted lots of plastic bottles into different, durable and portable roofing sheets.

"This product is one of its kind, It lasts very long, The duration can last up to a hundred years and look at the competition in the system, the regular aluminum and alu-zinc, anytime, we had to import, we were met with challenges of steel prices going up so we decided in a way to help give it back to the system, we are better off collecting the waste, and e keeping the city clean and also using it for something profitable"

Below are some pictures:

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith



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