Reducing waste in Ghana; we must deal with the human mentality

One major problem that has attracted global attention in our twenty-first century is the problem of waste. Waste has become part of our human lives as far as production and consumption of goods are concerned. We however seem to be only good in the generation of waste but lack the know-how on management of the waste generated.

An estimated 2 billion tons of municipal solid waste is generated worldwide each year, whereas methane emission from landfills accounts for 15% of greenhouse gas emissions with plastics requiring 100 to 400 years to break down in landfill. As population and industrial production have concurrently increased in the last 200 years, waste has also grown more than drastically. More people with more things are disposing of them at an ever-increasing rate. Much waste is now very hazardous just as plastics and other synthetics are not biodegradable.

During the environmental movement of the 1970s, a popular saying “there is no way” was thus used to signify that, throwing things away is no longer a choice. Most countries are rapidly running out of landfills where solid waste can be buried, one simple approach to waste problems is to reduce the amount thrown away. How far had this been realised? Fast forward today, do we regard that old adage? and to what extent have we tried to fight the fight of the aforementioned movement of the 1970s?

Efforts by Governmental and Non-Governmental Organisations in the African continent especially the country -Ghana, to deal with waste problems has yielded no good fruits. The mere provision of vehicles for transporting waste and other waste collecting materials across the length and breadth of the country is not an end in itself as far as tackling waste is concerned.

Much focus should be on the redefining of our human thinking thus acknowledging the very low deficiency in education. The human mindset should be tackled first before any other step to control waste.

The throwaway habit of the Europeans must be avoided by Ghanaians. Africans and for that matter Ghanaians must reduce the amount thrown away. This woulf mean finding other lucrative things to do with our excesses. We seemingly live in societies where those who buy more and consume less are regarded as ‘Haves’ and those who virtually consume what they buy are seen as ‘Have nots’.

It is true of the above that, the amount of food waste disposed off in many restaurants in Ghana could be used to feed thousands of children in the streets or communities wallowing in hunger. Undoubtedly, this canker could be far controlled if not eradicated by sensitizing the minds of the Ghanaian. Massive education and sensitization should necessarily be the way forward. It takes the commitment of all to reduce waste in the local, regional and global level. Everyone is responsible to work towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) especially Environmental Sustainability. Meanwhile, there cannot be any better way to do the above than first and foremost sensitizing our minds and thoughts.

Written by: Adam Alale Moses

About the writer:

Adam Alale Moses (Mr) is a registered writer at Daily News/Gh. As a writer, he has expertise in opinion and feature writings. Contact: 0242431970

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