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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.


    See also: Agbogbloshie And Africa's Bulging Youth Population


    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.


    See also: Pictures: The Rwandan Genocide


    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 


    See also: A Small Glimmer Of Hope Comes To Agbogbloshie


    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 Killing More People in 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!











        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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        Comments (2)

        • David

          I am David, quite satisfied with your write up especially suggestions on solutions. I would want a possible team work to drive this agenda which also would align with the presidents 2020 clean Accra initiative.

          Good day.

        • Ellis


          Thanks for your feedback. Your email is stored in our system. Someone from our team will reach out to you in the course of the week.

          Happy Environment Day 2019!

          Ellis, M.
          ATC MASK Customer Support Team.

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