The ever green Coalition of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the Water and Sanitation Sector (CONIWAS), organisers of the Mole Conference series rejected being served plastic bottled water at its 2019 annual gathering in Ho, the Volta regional capital.
This single action by CONIWAS saved the environment over 2400 single use plastic bottles in just four days.
I’m reliably inform that the management of hotel, where the 2019 Mole conference series which was the 30th edition took place tried so hard to stake to their old fashion but have to give up upon the un-waving stands of the organisers to stuck to the policy of using water dispensers and personal drinking cups instead of supplying bottled water.
The over 180 participants seeing the effect of the use personal drinking cups to drink water from a water dispensers instead of supplying them with bottled water which has become the norm at such august functions also rejected being served pastries on single use plastic plates by the hotel and have opted for tissue papers.
The cleanliness of the various conference rooms before, during and after sessions caught my attention because unlike other conferences I have attended where the rooms were littered with empty or half empty plastic bottles all over.
Again apart from protecting the environment, the use of personal drinking cups to drink also went a long way to save lot of water. Usually at conferences of such magnitude, lots of water go waste because most of the attendees don’t consumed all the water in the bottled water they are served with. At Mole XXX all those nuisance of seeing scattered half emptied or half full bottled water bottles all over conference venues were absent.
Another significant thing I noticed about this innovation by the organisers to provide each participant a clean personal drinking cup was that the organisers of the conference met their part of bargain as there was not a single occasion where water in the two dispenser run out thus leaving no option for participant to resort to bottle water.
Lack of consistency, failed promises, non-functioning of laws, regulations on the part of duty bearers is what I believe has been the bane of the plastic menace the country is currently confronted with.
Even though duty-bearers know the right things to do in solving the canker, they are either gone to bed or have decided to put a blind eye to the problems. For over three years or so now taxes paid by manufacturers and producers of plastic to address the plastic menace is missing as no government official is able to tell us where the accrued funds are kept and what are the reasons for government keeping the accrued funds to their chest instead of using it to build re-cycling plants, as well as supporting private waste collection cum re-cycling companies.
Today single use plastic bottles, plates, shopping bags, etc. have become one of the major headaches for both city and rural authorities to handle.
Currently millions of single use plastic products are disposed into the environment on daily bases without any clue in sight to solve the menace.
Today in Ghana, due to the haphazard dumping of single use plastics products, where hitherto there was no flooding when it even rain dogs and cats, those areas currently experiences flooding simply because all our gutters, drains, rivers and lakes are choked with plastic products thus making it impossible for free flow of rain water.
Aside the flooding the country is experiencing currently, the county is also on the verge of losing its water bodies, as well as farm lands. The top soil are gradually been covered with plastics products while the aquatic life are being threaten to extinct.
It’s on this note that I commend the executives, members and affiliates of CONIWAS for the exemplary actions and the wonderful innovation of ‘one clean personal silver drinking cup, one participant’.
This innovation should not remain just at the Mole XXX but rather should be carried to our basic, junior and secondary schools to reduce the filth from the sachet, plastic bottled and carrier bags that we throw onto the environment.
Again CONIWAS as a body should led the crusade for the accrued funds from taxes paid by the plastic manufacturing companies are used for its intended purpose as well as to advocate for some tax rebate for private individuals and companies who want to go into re-cycling business.
I want use this platform to appeal to Ghanaians to help reduce plastic waste in our various homes, offices, schools and institutions. Shoppers should always go to shopping with shopping baskets instead of plastic shopping bags, minimized the use of bottled water and other plastic products.
With this kind of initiatives, millions of single use plastic products which ended up in gutters, drains, rivers, lakes and ocean will be reduced if not eradicated.
Article by: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
The writer is the National Organiser for Ghana WASH Journalists Network (GWJN)