Plastic Recycling on the Rise in Ghana

The Dow Chemical Company officially launched a coalition – named the Ghana Recycling Initiative by Private Enterprises (GRIPE) – in an event held in Accra, Republic of Ghana.

The aim is to improve plastic waste management in the country in collaboration with Coca-Cola, Fan Milk, Guinness, PZ Cussons, Unilever, and Voltic under the auspices of the Association of Ghana Industry (AGI). The coalition is to support government efforts to integrate sustainable waste management solutions, advocate improved waste management practices, contribute to increased collection and recycling rates countrywide, and provide employment opportunities through scalable recycling solutions, the chemical company informed in December last year.

According to Dow, the plastics advocacy project for Ghana began after the government proposed a ban on plastics following a flooding and fire disaster in 2015, which was blamed on poor waste management, particularly of plastic items. The team of the chemical company “led other private sector stakeholders through the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in engaging regulators to provide science-based understanding and alternative resolution options”, which was followed by the creation of this private sector recycling coalition (GRIPE). Earlier in 2017, Dow‘s project to Improve Plastic Waste Value Chain in Ghana was granted 200,000 US-Dollar from the company‘s Impact Fund and now includes a three-year financial commitment to GRIPE, as well as a collaboration with two local NGOs (Environment 360 and Asase Foundation) for additional impact.

Ghana’s Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Kofi Adda, welcomed the initiative. “We recently launched a National Total Sanitation campaign to tackle sanitation in our major cities. We recognize that the government cannot address the issue of sanitation and plastic waste alone, hence the efforts by industry to rise up to the challenge and help make a difference, this time around, is laudable and worthy of every support they may require to succeed,” he was cited.

Forum on Sustainable Plastic Waste Management

In January this year, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), has advised Ghanaians to minimize their use of plastic products and substitute them with degradable materials. The minister, who was addressing participants at a stakeholders’ forum on sustainable plastic waste management, organized by the GIZ (German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH) in collaboration with MESTI in Accra, said the amount of plastic waste being generated globally on daily basis was reaching alarming proportions.

However, in his view, an immediate ban on the production and use of plastic in the country was not the solution; he advocated a gradual system of effective preparation and sustainable management through useful recycling of waste materials into productive goods. The country could take advantages of the availability of raw materials to generate income, create jobs and turn plastic waste into creative and beneficial products for use, he was quoted by the Ghana News Agency.

As reported, the forum presented a platform for discussions on current trends, emerging issues and best practices from across the world, and gave participants the opportunity to make inputs into the draft of the country’s National Plastic Policy, currently being developed by MESTI, to make it more coherent and implementable. The Ministry’s strategy in managing plastic will hinge on “reducing use, re-use, refuse single-use recycle, and replacement, such as replacement of plastic shopping bags by cotton materials or paper”.

New Waste Treatment Plants

According to media reports, Ghana’s waste management sector is characterized by poor waste collection systems and indiscriminate disposal of refuse. The volume of waste generated by about 29 million Ghanaian inhabitants on a daily basis is estimated at 14,000 tons. In 2015, the country was ranked by the World Health Organization as the 7th dirtiest country in the world, Ghanaweb reported.

Currently, the government is addressing Ghana’s water and sanitation challenges. Each of the country’s regions will get two waste treatment plants, Joseph Kofi Adda, Ghana’s Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, was quoted in July last year. At a stakeholder forum to devise a three-year strategic plan for the execution of the Ministry’s mandate in tackling the country’s water and sanitation difficulties, he also informed, that the government intends to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa. Ghana‘s first-ever Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources wants to ‘double or triple‘ the budget for water and sanitation in his country to launch a total sanitation campaign.

Water: Ambitious Goals

According to Dutch-based international think-and-do-tank IRC, ambitious tasks await Joseph Kofi Adda, who attended last year’s World Water Week, the world’s biggest conference on water and development held annually in Sweden’s capital Stockholm. The organizations IRC and Safe Water Network work together to achieve Ghana‘s ambitious targets over the coming years.

As reported by non-profit-organization IRC, Ghana‘s plan is to improve the sanitation situation drastically by 2020: “Around 25,300 boreholes will be constructed together with 300 small water systems. One million toilets will be built and Accra should be Africa’s cleanest city in four years’ time. The targets contribute to the larger goal of sustainable water and basic sanitation for all in Ghana by 2025 – a goal that surpasses the global Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to provide everyone with water and sanitation by 2030.” The information provided by IRC also says, that about 60 percent of Ghana’s population has access to basic drinking water. Around 14 percent of the inhabitants have basic sanitation and less than 19 percent have access to water and soap. Waterborne diseases or diseases related to poor sanitation, such as cholera, would continue to affect the population. Diarrhea would kill more than ten thousand children under five every year, IRC referred to information provided by UNICEF.

As reported, user tariffs are paying for around 75 percent of Ghana’s water and sanitation facilities and donors contribute 19 percent. But it is estimated that the donations will decline in the wake of Ghana’s promotion to a lower middle-income status. But the Ghanaian government has secured a two-billion-dollar Chinese loan that will help to build the infrastructure needed for sanitation facilities so that Accra will be the cleanest city in Africa one day.


Investment Opportunities in Ghana

The Ghana Investment Promotion Center ( co-ordinates and monitors all investment activities and assists domestic and foreign investors.

The Public Procurement Authority ( has the task of ensuring that public procurement is carried out in a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner.


Photo: pixabay

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