International project team supports Ghana in tackling plastics waste

24 October 2019

The Basel Convention Secretariat has enlisted the support of Resource Futures to support the Ghanaian government in addressing the challenges posed by plastics waste.  The initiative is funded by Norad as part of the Norwegian Development Assistance Program on Marine Litter and Microplastics.

The initial phase of the project involves developing a toolkit for conducting plastics waste inventories. The toolkit will help national governments understand the flows of plastics through their economies. Most importantly, it will identify areas where plastics leakage is high and where there is strong potential to take action.

Resource Futures will work in collaboration with the Ghanaian government to test the toolkit and develop a plastic waste inventory for Ghana, before adopting the same process in Bangladesh.

“We are delighted to kick start this project in Ghana,” said Melissa Limm, Programme Officer, Basel Convention Secretariat. “This is an important project that will help address plastics marine litter and strengthen the capacity of Ghana and later Bangladesh to achieve the environmentally sound management, prevention and minimisation of plastics waste.”

Beach litter, Accra, David Lerpiniere 2019

The project kicked off in Accra in October with a workshop launched by the Hon. Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng and Mr. Nesvag, Counsellor, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ghana. The workshop was attended by the Ghanaian government and other key stakeholders, including representatives of the recycling sector, plastics industry and local government.

“We will see the creation of new jobs in the sustainable waste management sector, the protection of vulnerable individuals and communities from harmful effects of mismanaged plastic waste, and accelerated progress towards many of the Sustainable Development Goals”, said Professor Frimpong-Boateng.

“Having the right tools to help national and local stakeholders make evidence-based decisions to tackle plastics pollution is absolutely vital,” said David Lerpiniere, Head of Resources, Waste & Development at Resource Futures. “We are excited about working in collaboration with colleagues in Ghana to develop and test a toolkit that all national governments and practitioners can use to take evidence-based action on this critical issue”.

Ghana is said to generate over 3,000 tonnes of plastic waste across the country daily, which constitutes about 14 per cent of the entire municipal waste accumulated in the country. According to Professor Frimpong-Boateng, within the Accra Metropolitan Area alone, including the Accra-Tema coastline areas, 35.6 per cent of the total waste is plastic. Currently, only two to three percent of waste from plastics is collected for recycling by the informal sector.

This work builds on Resource Futures’ extensive work over recent years on the issue of plastics pollution, including the work for OECD on international plastics recycling markets and development of a ‘use phase’ framework to help policy makers identify appropriate policies for tackling plastics.