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Plastics are choking the world’s oceans, shorelines, and rivers. It's getting worse inland. How would you tackle the problems of single-use plastic waste in developing cities such as Accra and Lagos?

 

Last updated: 23 March 2019 7:26 PM (GMT)

 

By Muntaka Chasant | 663 words | Reading time: 2.5 min

 

 

 

 

Plastic Pollution in Ghana 

 Plastic Pollution in Ghana

 

Photo Credit: Muntaka Chasant/ Accra, Ghana


 

The Global Plastic Pollution Problem

 

 

Table of Content

 

• Plastic Pollution in Ghana
• Solutions To Plastic Pollution in Ghana

 


     

    A juvenile Cuvier beaked whale recently washed up in the Philippines with nearly 90lbs of plastic bags in its stomach. To the shock of researchers, they found "the most plastic" they have ever seen in a whale - 16 rice sacks and plastic shopping bags tightly packed in its belly.1

     

    Plastics are often ingested by marine life who mistake them for food.

     

    Single-use plastics are devastating the world’s oceans, habitats, and marine life.

     

     

    Plastic Pollution in Ghana 

    Photo Credit: Muntaka Chasant/ Accra, Ghana


     

    A recent study which investigated the social and economic impact of plastics in the ocean says plastic pollution costs the world up to $2.5tn a year.

     

    Another study also estimates the cost of plastic pollution to the world’s marine ecosystem to roughly $13 billion each year.2

     

    Plastic waste can enter the ocean through improper waste management such as the waste generated by coastal population, disposed plastics in uncontrolled dumps, and littered waste.

     

    Up to 12 million tonnes of plastics entered the ocean in 2010, (Jambeck et al., 2015).3

     

    According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, more than 8 million tonnes of plastics enter the ocean each year.

     

    Single-use plastic waste regularly clog sewers and create breeding ground for mosquitoes. This can increase the risk of vector-borne disease such as malaria in poorer regions such as Africa and Asia.

     

     

    Agbogbloshie Ghana 

    Plastic Pollution in Ghana

     

    Photo Credit: Muntaka Chasant/ Agbogbloshie, Ghana


     

     

    Plastic Pollution in Ghana

     

     

     

    Waste infrastructure has failed to keep up with Ghana's economic growth, leaving its capital Accra drowning in plastic trash.

     

    Streets and waterways in Accra, and other urban areas are regularly inundated with single-use plastics such as shopping bags, ‘pure water’ sachets, water and soda bottles, etc.

     

    According to a study, Ghana generated 302,192 kg/day of plastic waste in 2015, and 81% of the waste was inadequately managed (plastic waste dumped in uncontrolled landfills). This did not include ‘littered’ plastic waste.

     

    Due to dysfunctional municipal waste management services, residents in urban areas in Ghana regularly burn plastic waste in the open, releasing highly toxic chemicals such as dioxins and furans into the environment.

     

     

    Plastic Pollution in Ghana - Agbogbloshie 

    Plastic Pollution in Ghana 

     

    Photo Credit: Muntaka Chasant/ Accra, Ghana


     

    Open burning of residential trash (with high plastic content) is a leading source of air pollution in developing countries.

     

    About 28,000 premature deaths in Ghana each year are linked to air pollution, the World Health Organization report reveal.4

     

    See also: Air Pollution is Killing More People in Ghana

      

    See also: Videos and Photos of Agbogbloshie, Ghana

     

      

    Air Pollution in Ghana


    Agbogbloshie - A short film


     

     

    Solutions To Plastic Pollution in Ghana

     

     

    The following actions could help reduce plastic pollution in Ghanaian cities.

     

     

    • Complete government ban or reuse legislation - this could target the most visible single-use plastics such as ‘pure water’ sachets, shopping bags, and water bottles.

       

      • Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). This includes regulations to make producers responsible for the damage of plastics - such as the growing cost of addressing plastic litter and pollution in the environment (collection, disposal, street sweeping, waterway cleanups, etc). This extends the producer’s responsibility for a product to the post-usage stage. This could also include mandatory take-back programs.

         

        • Incentives to industry through tax cuts (to encourage transition), promoting alternative technologies, and raising public awareness about the environmental damages of single-use plastics.
         

        How would you tackle Ghana’s plastic pollution problems? 

          

        See also: Air Pollution in Ghana: Causes, Effects and Solutions

          

        See also: Videos and Photos of Agbogbloshie, Ghana

         

        See also: "Urban mining" and Air Pollution in Accra, Ghana

         

         

         

        Please leave your comments below, and let us know what you think!

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

         

        Sources.


         

        1. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=2689346287758609&id=216407245052538&__tn__=-R (Retrieved March, 2019)
        2. https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/25496/singleUsePlastic_sustainability.pdf?isAllowed=y&sequence=1 (Retrieved March, 2019)
        3. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/347/6223/768 (Retrieved March, 2019)
        4. https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/272596/9789241565585-eng.pdf?ua=1 (Retrieved March, 2019)
         

         

         

         

         

         

         

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