Plastic waste must be addressed Plastic waste must be addressed
A heap of Kufuor gallons and water pipes used by the contemporary artist to assist in demonstration An environmentalist, Mr Emmanuel Ocran, has urged... Plastic waste must be addressed

A heap of Kufuor gallons and water pipes used by the contemporary artist to assist in demonstration

An environmentalist, Mr Emmanuel Ocran, has urged the government and environmental agencies in the country to urgently come up with strategies aimed at restoring damaged rivers and other water sources in the country.

According to him, this has become necessary in order that the country is taken out of the ‘water stress’ it is currently experiencing.

Experts say Ghana is likely to miss meeting goal number six of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had noted in 2016 that if water pollution in the country continued, there would be no surface or underground water by 2030.

Patronage of jerrycan relatively deadly

In an interview with the Daily Graphic in Kumasi, Mr Ocran explained that the practice of storing water in plastic jerrycans was dangerous.

He said the jerrycans, popularly referred to as ‘Kufuor gallons’, were composed of hydrocarbons that had negative effect on the health of people.

He observed that the continuous use of the container over a long period could have debilitating effect on one’s health.

Mr Ocran mentioned cancer, diabetes and intestinal ailments as some health-related complications that one was likely to get through prolonged use of jerrycans for storage and as receptacles for eating.

Cottage industry

Besides its negative effect on health in the long run, Mr Ocran said the widespread use of the plastic cans which were imported was also affecting producers of local pottery products used for water conservation, since they were being dominated out of the market.

“Inasmuch as we are trying to protect our water bodies from being destroyed, there is the need also to preserve our local cottage industries from collapse,” he stated.

He added that consumption and reliance on imported products would not make the country develop unless steps were taken to encourage production and consumption of goods produced locally.

“To improve our self-worth and shore up profits internally, it will be expedient as a country to trade and consume Ghanaian-made products,” he mentioned.

Fluid catalytic cracking

Mr Ocran further expressed concern over the way plastics, including jerrycans, were disposed of in the country when they became waste, saying the improper disposal of plastic waste had serious implications on the environment.

He said he was surprised that in spite of the many well-intentioned moves by successive governments to control littering of the environment with empty water sachets and bottles, such efforts had been largely ineffective.

“If the poor management of plastic waste in the system is not controlled, cost to the nation in terms of money and human resource will be difficult to deal with,” he stressed.

According to Mr Ocran, one way to control plastic waste was to employ the mechanism of “fluid catalytic cracking”, which converts the “harmful heavy hydrocarbon weight” in plastics into gasoline to be used as fuel.


He said he was of the view that proper management of waste products, especially plastic jerrycans, could generate income and employment for people and save our soils from deterioration and improve agriculture.

written by Joseph Kyei-Boateng 29 March 2017

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