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Opinions of Thursday, 7 September 2017

Columnist: Abraham Frank Eshun

Recycling - The antidote for Ghana's numerous environmental and health problems

Good decision making about how we manage the waste we create in the country is one of the most essential contributions we can make to reduce the numerous negative problems caused by waste on our health and habitation in Ghana.

Recycling has uncountable benefits that can provide several solutions to environmental and health problems in the country and also can create employment for the citizens.

Some of these important benefits encompass protection of environmental pollution, promotion of good public health, protection of surface and ground water pollution, elimination of land and marine contamination, reduction of greenhouse emission across number of economic sectors among others.

For instance the harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses which are released from rubbish burning in landfill sites in various communities especially in the urban centers engulfed with huge garbage which posed harmful health threat to the closer residents, recycling helps to reduce those pollution.

Colossal amounts of energy are used when making products from new raw materials but recycling requires much less energy to renew the old materials to produce new products and therefore, helps to preserve our natural resources.

For example recycled aluminum, takes about 95% less energy to make new product than new aluminum from bauxite ore.
Treatment of waste is a very essential part of the waste cycle and it is a means of decreasing the amount of waste that is finally disposed into landfill sites thus, increasing the lifespan of the landfill sites.

Besides, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies MMDAs spend huge money from their common funds and internally generated funds to procure several waste management resources to treat waste and upon all, even face several litigations, complains, scarcities and unbearable problems caused by waste landfill sites.

Through waste recycling, numerous landfill sites can be even skipped to save money, time, land and other resource. The value for waste recycling, the money spent by MMDAs on waste can be invested in other important areas like education, health and infrastructures among others.

With waste recycling, less waste materials are sent to the landfill which means it will not fill up as fast and based on that the same landfill will remain useful for years longer.

In other words, Ghana grieves from seasonal flooding especially in Accra, as in many other urban centers, drains blocked by plastics and other wastes due to lack of proper controlled waste collection for recycling.
The time has come that Ghana should use recycling to solve uncountable problems caused by waste materials by starting to educate our new generation about recycling and proper waste segregation through color coded waste bins as being done in developed countries.

The government and private partners should do their best to establish more recycling plants and support this campaign that will help the country to solve today's and future waste management problems.

In line of the president’s vision to make the Accra the cleanest city on the African continent, the Managing Director of Qualiplast Limited, Mr Fares Akl, has called on other stakeholders in the waste management sector to endorse the segregation and its campaigns to help salvage indiscriminate disposal of filth in the country.

Mr. Joseph Akl the Deputy General Manager of the same company has also expounded that “segregating waste from source provided environmental and economic benefits, as it helped in creating a healthy environment and facilitated the re-use of the waste through recycling”.

They make these statements in line of supporting the government through the social cooperate responsibility by presenting 100 colour-coded waste bins through Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to schools in the metropolis. This required to be emulated by other stakeholders to support the government policies in fighting poor sanitation in the country.

The parents are also obligatory to start practicing waste segregation in their various homes and teach the young once the benefit of recycling as an agent of solving environmental and health problems that can also be inherited by unborn ones.
Additionally, I had a conversation with Mr. Clark William a Chief Record Supervisor at the office of cape coast Metropolitan Assembly about my previous article “From Waste Bin to Cash...” he shared his experience from Britain when he visited the relatives.

A Ghanaian who is not conversant to codded waste segregation unfortunately missed broken glass with food waste and being blamed and later rearranged all the broken glasses from the food waste to the assigned waste bin codded with green colour for glass waste.

The red colour for metals, yellow colour for plastics, black colour for food and others and blue coded bin for waste papers he added.
According to him, these wastes are being taken away periodically by recycling companies and helped make the home very clean and comfortable.

The same segregation strategy could be introduced in Ghana as a basic norm in our various homes to backing recycling and educate the children to emulate so that in future they will not departed from it.

A clean city in which waste management service is effectively managed is a healthful and lovely and attractive place for residents, tourists, foreign and inward business investors and the value for recycling is the key to achieve these goals in Ghana.