Child Sanitation Diplomat Advocates For Waste Segregation In Homes, Schs.

A Child Sanitation Diplomat, Ms. Neriah Tettey is calling for an intensity education on waste segregation in homes, Schools and every place where waste is generated.

 Addressing participants at the just ended 31th edition of the Mole Conference Series which was held at the HillView Guest Center- Abokobi in the Ga East Municipal Assembly of the Greater Accra Region, Ms. Tettey made a passionate appeal to the government to empower waste management companies to provide facilities for waste segregation wherever they provide bins.

She told the gathering that her observations from a visit to one of the waste recycling plants in Accra last week, was that sorting plastics from other waste materials before recycling was one of the main stumbling blocks affecting smooth operations of waste recycling companies in the country.

The Child Sanitation Diplomat is of the view that the work and operations of waste recycling companies would be much easier if plastics were segregated at source. This simple act of  sorting plastics from other waste materials will encourage individuals, organizations or groups to set up  more recycling companies to turn what seems ‘useless plastics’ into something useful.

She announced at the conference that she was going to embarking on a one-year journey to campaign for improved sanitation and waste management in Ghana, particularly in schools, focusing mainly on policies and practices.

“As the reigning child Sanitation Diplomat and a passionate lover of clean environment, I am embarking on a one-year journey to campaign for improved sanitation and waste management in

Ghana, particularly in schools, focusing mainly on policies and practices, and 1 believe that with your support and understanding, we will collectively generate wonderful outcomes and make remarkable impacts” Ms. Tettey reiterated.

“Mr Chairman, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, one of my main campaign objectives is on management of plastic waste in the country. As a child, 1 have been growing in a society where everybody enjoys using plastics as the easiest packaging material.

I go for shopping with my parents and almost everything we buy is wrapped in a plastic bag. Plastics indeed make shopping and packaging life easy for everybody and indeed, we all enjoy life with plastics.

Plastics, however, become enemy to the environment and thus to you and l immediately we finish using them, most of the time as soon as we reach home. Plastics decide never to decompose after we throw them away whether through littering or proper dumping.

They fly and dance about in our streets; they hang in the branches of trees as if they were fruits; they parade on our parks and fields as if they are children playing football, they choke our drains and gutters and block the free flow of runoff water and force the water to divert and flood our homes and roads, sometimes killing innocent people, they even enter our beautiful oceans and choke the fish in there as well; and again, they contribute to filling up our engineered landfills Sites earlier than expected, and may even lead to pre-mature de-commissioning even though sites for landfills are extremely difficult to acquire.

Mr Chairman, i know very well that the appropriate government institutions including the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources, the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and innovation, the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, and some private waste management companies are making efforts to contain plastic waste.

Ms. Neriah Tettey, A Child Sanitation Diplomat addressing participants at MOLE XXXI Confab 

However, Mr. Chairman, I am very worried at the speed with which these efforts are being made. For so many years we have been assured of a solution by the authorities, yet we still see the plastics everyday around us in unapproved places.

Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t believe that Ghanaians will easily agree to stop using plastics even if it is banned. 1 doesn’t also quite agree that the authorities should just allow Ghanaians to use plastics irresponsibly. So then, what do we do, going forward i believe that there are a lot of creative ways to turn plastic waste into other useful things? In fact, I learned from a visit to one of the waste recycling plants in Accra last week, that sorting plastics from other waste materials before recycling was one of the main stumbling blocks, and that their work would be much easier if plastics were segregated at source.” She further explained.

Ms. Tettey continue saying “To my fellow children, I know we want to continue to enjoy our plastics. We should therefore all endeavour to defeat the enemy in plastics by separating them at source so that they can be put into another use in a different form. When we do this the blame will no longer be on us the users to give the government the chance to ban plastics.

The pressure will rather be on government to work with waste management companies to recycle plastics. I also appeal to government to allocate more resources for sustainable sanitation and waste management services, especially in schools.

This is because once children are put at the centre of sanitation and waste management behaviour change; the entire country can be assured of a sanitized future environment.”

She is therefore, seeking the support of every institution and every person for her campaign dubbed “the Neriah Sanitation Campaign Project”.

The project according to her seeks to campaign against bad sanitation and waste management practices including littering especially among children and promote waste segregation and recycling.

The project will also contribute ideas from Ghanaian children’s perspective for effective sanitation and waste management policies. In terms of sanitation, the project will raise funds to provide decent and modern toilet facilities to selected deprived schools in Ghana.

 

 

Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH

Writer’s email: franklinadonkoh@gmail.com

 

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