Govt urged to support Plastic Waste Pickers

Government has been urged to financially support technology and technical training for waste pickers in Ghana.

According to the Programmes Manager for Environment360, a waste management organisation, Ms Selasi Charway-Glover, that would provide an avenue for the waste pickers to transition to small scale recyclers to earn more income.

Ms Charway-Glover disclosed this during the commemoration of In­ternational Waste Pickers Day with Waste Pickers at Tema Newtown, last Friday.

Under the theme: ‘Empowering Waste Pickers Worldwide: Champions of Sustainable and Social Justice,’ the day which falls on March 1, is commemorated annually in honour of 11 Waste Pickers who were cruelly murdered at Colombia, South Ameri­ca in 1992.

The celebration is designed to showcase the positive impact of waste pickers on both the environ­ment and society, alongside endeav­ours to support their well-being and rights.

Ms Charway-Glover said though, waste pickers were the main suppli­ers of the raw materials for recycling companies, the income generated from their activities was not enough to sustain their livelihoods.

She said globally, millions of infor­mal sector workers such as the Waste Pickers play critical roles in the cir­cular economy, however, their work was not recognised and were always marginalised.

For instance, Ms Charway-Glover said over the past two years, the waste pickers in Tema working at Environment360’s Pick-It Centre with support from the IKI Small Grants programme, had worked closely to recover over 279 tonnes of plastic waste from the Tema community and its environs for recycling.

This, she said translate to about 1145 metric tonnes of carbon-dioxide (CO2) equivalent recovered from the environment.

“This reflects just a fraction of the work that Waste Pickers all over the country are putting in to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris agreement,” she added.

Ms Charway-Glover called on gov­ernment to recognise the informal waste management sector as an al­ternative waste management system for the country while municipal and metropolitan assemblies incorporate the informal waste management ser­vices in their planning, and recognise the efforts of the sector in supple­menting waste management services within their areas.

The Programmes Coordinator for the Pick-It project, Matilda Asantewaa Sampong, advised the public against stigmatising the Waste Pickers, as their work contribute significantly to the sustainability of the environment.

Prince Asare, Environment Health Officer at Tema Metropolitan Assem­bly (TMA), for his part commended the Waste Pickers for their work in reducing landfilling, open burning, and marine pollution in the city.

The Secretary of the Waste Pick­ers, Susana Klugah Hoedzoadey in an interview with The Spectator demanded respect and recognition for their contribution in managing the huge amount of waste produced in the country and appealed to the government to come to their aid by supporting them to procure ma­chines to recycle the materials.

 By Vivian Arthur

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