The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Zoomlion, on Friday launched a national waste segregation programme to encourage separation of wastes at source.
The programme, supported by the two giants in waste management in Ghana – Zoomlion Ghana Limited and Jekora Ventures, was to promote clean environments as well as lessen the burden of diseases on the people.
The programme would be implemented country-wide and the first phase would commence in some selected schools and within the ministries area in Accra.
Under the programme, three types of waste bins would be given to each institution within the ministries and the selected schools in Accra.
One of the bins would contain paper, another plastics and the last one would contain food waste.
Dr Joe Otteng Adjei, the sector Minister, in a speech read for him, said the launch was a fulfillment of Governmnent’s national environmental policy and a major step in addressing the solid waste menace in the country.
He said source waste segregation was an efficient and environmentally sustainable way of managing waste and it would also help reduce the amount of waste to be land filled as well as provide additional value from secondary raw materials which could be recycled into useful products to support economic development.
Dr Otteng-Adjei said they believed that waste separation at source by individuals should be a sure way to handle the waste problem in the country and called for new thinking, innovation and new ways of doing things to sustain the programme.
He said the major challenge of waste was the cost of collection and disposal which was having a heavy toll on financial resources of Government.
“Many Metropolitan and Municipal Assemblies spend over 60 per cent of their financial resources on waste management. This leaves little for social and economic development projects,” he said.
He, therefore, implored the EPA and the other major stakeholders to undertake extensive sensitization and public education to get the public to understand the rules and importance of waste segregation.
Mr Daniel S. Amlalo, Executive Director of EPA, said available statistics showed that the per capita waste generation per person per day in Ghana was about 0.54 kilogrammes.
“With a population of over 24 million people, we generate approximately 12,960 tons per day of solid waste nationwide. Out of this quantum only 60 per cent is collected and in effect safe disposal remains a major challenge,” he said.
He said improper waste had negative impacts on the environment such as ground water contamination, aesthetic and odour nuisance as well as public health impacts.
Mr Amlalo pledged the Agency’s commitment to the initiative of waste segregation for recycling and for organic manure production for agriculture and landscaping.
“We, therefore, pledge to re-enforce and sustain public awareness creation and education in partnership with all relevant stakeholders to make this noble initiative successful and sustainable,” he said.
Jekora Ventures, on its part, donated 50 waste bins and 300 education brochures to support the national source waste segregation programme.
There were solidarity messages from the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Accra Metropolitan Assembly, Zoomlion Ghana Limited, and Jekora Ventures.
Some selected schools were given three waste bins each to kick start the programme. GNA