Business News Wed, 19 Sep 2007

Sachet water companies need permits

Accra, Sept. 19, GNA - Companies producing water in sachets who fail to obtain a trade permit sticker issued by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) for their distribution trucks would not be allowed to operate in the Central Business District.

To ensure compliance, special guards would be deployed at all entry points of the Central Business District to monitor activities of these trucks, Mr. Stanley Nii Adjiri Blankson, Chief Executive Officer of AMA, said in Accra.

He was speaking at the induction into office of members of the Executive Implementation Committee (EIC) of the Assembly's Plastic Waste Management Project (APWAMP) on Tuesday. The project, which is to begin on a pilot basis and replicated in other parts of Accra, aims at controlling the increasing menace of plastic waste in the metropolis. EIC, which is tasked to manage the project would, after six months, hand over to the AMA.

Nii Adjiri Blankson said trucks carrying products weighing up to four tons would pay 100 GH cedis a month, those up to seven tons would pay 120 GH cedis, trucks up to 10 tons would pay 150 GH cedis and articulated trucks would pay 300 GH cedis. "Stickers issued shall expire at the end of every month irrespective of the date of issue," he said, adding that money accruing would be used to finance the project. The permits would be issued upon inspection of AMA Business Operation Permit, Business registration Certificate and Standard Board/Food and Drugs Board Certificate. The company would also have to give its location, name of product and other relevant information that would help the AMA to compile a database of all sachet water and related producers. Nii Adjiri Blankson said there would be 20 giant billboards and several hundred dustbins within the project zone. He reiterated that AMA was not against private enterprises saying, "What AMA is interested in is to ensure that enterprises conduct their business in an environmentally-friendly and responsible way for the benefit of the business itself and society at large." He said he was optimistic that the project would not only help check the plastic menace but create jobs. He tasked EIC members to monitor execution of the project and incorporate awareness creation. The Mayor told EIC members that plastic waste had been a source of worry to all, saying that used plastic waste was threatening the environment, economy and agriculture.

According to him, urban farmers were unable to produce crops and other vegetables because the soil was full of non-biodegradable rubber waste, hence making their lands barren. "While fishermen now catch plastic products instead of fish, people practicing animal husbandry are now looking helplessly because their animals are dying as result of swallowing indigestible plastic products."


Nii Adjiri Blankson explained that due to the negative impact of plastic waste, the Assembly earlier decided to ban them, citing Tanzania and some African countries.

However, the Union of Sachet Water Producer (USWAP), Agbogboloshie Pure Water and Iced Water Sellers Association and other stakeholders met him and they decided to find a solution to the plastic waste menace. "At this meeting, it was decided that there was the need for a committee to be constituted to come out with modalities for the most effective and efficient management of plastic waste in the Metropolis. Thus a committee was immediately set up." Nii Adjiri Blankson said the terms of reference of the stakeholder meeting were to draw up plans for the establishment of a Pilot Plastic Waste Management Project in the Central Business District and identify sources of sponsorship.

He said EIC was, among other things, to establish a "No drop Zone" of plastic waste and set up collection points to collect plastic waste. He appealed to other stakeholders whose operations either affected the plastic menace directly or indirectly to support the waste management project.

Mr. Ebow Botwe of the Ghana Plastic Manufacturers Association, who is the chairman of the project said one of the environmental legacy that people could leave for future generations would depend on "our resolve to recycle and manage waste properly". Mr Botwe noted that the establishment of two recycling plants was to ensure that the plastics recycled were used in the production of items such as footwear. He said: "Plastics are 100 per cent recyclable by either being processed into economically useful low products such as footwear, mats, pipes and many more. Plastic can be thermally incinerated to generate energy. "Let us all learn to dispose of plastic waste properly to avoid falling victim to arrest and charges for littering plastic waste."

Source: GNA