The Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association (GPMA) has disclosed that 62% of flexible plastic bags in Ghana are from China, which is contributing to the increasing plastic pollution in the country.
According to GPMA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ensures that GPMA members conform to the production of Oxo-bio additive flexible plastic packaging but alleged that products from China do not conform to the directive.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday May 7, President for GPMA, Ebo Botwe said, “Currently about 62% of plastic carry bags, takeaway bags, cut bags, films and sheets on the markets are imported mostly from China which is not Oxo-Biodegradable nor Degradable and these form the huge plastic waste we find in our environment. This is seriously hurting the Plastic Industry in Ghana…unfortunately, EPA has failed to enforce this ministerial directive right from its inception”.
“The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation made it mandatory to use Oxo-bio additive in our manufacturing process to check plastic pollution,” he added.
The GPMA President called on the government to ban the importation of flexible plastic bags from China into Ghana.
Mr Botwe also stated that the installed capacity for plastic packaging products is at 56 per cent utilisation whilst imports are over 62 per cent coupled with the fact that most of the multi-national companies are also importing their plastic packaging, attributing the reason for the importation to the high cost of the locally manufactured plastic products.
“Fact is that the quantity of Chinese imports are increasing by the day because more Chinese nationals are setting up warehouses and importing finished plastic packaging products for retail. This activity by the Chinese is also against the law on retailing by foreigners. Indeed, it has gotten to a stage where, some local traders have set up small scale production factories in China to produce plastic take away bags, rolls, cut bags, sheets and the rest and ship them to Ghana for sale”.
Ghana faces catastrophe, 70,000 PET bottles produced monthly
Ghana is currently experiencing a plastic menace, with almost everything, including food and non-food items, being packaged in plastic, without any elaborate plan in operation to deal with the waste generated after the products have been used.
This lacuna is happening at a time when the 10 per cent environmental tax imposed on plastic product producers has yielded close to GH¢1 billion, without a dime being released for its intended purpose — to manage plastic waste.
With 5,700 tonnes of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (about 70,000 plastic bottles) being produced and used every month, the country faces a major environmental catastrophe, while a National Plastics Management Policy developed last year by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), with the collaboration of sector players, has only made it before the Cabinet.
The sector Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has said that as the national policy is currently before Cabinet, he was not able to speak on the government’s plan to deal with the plastic menace until the document had become operational.