Govt considering various options on use of plastic bags – Prez

President Mahama and other dignitaries on their way to the forum.

President John Dramani Mahama says the government is considering various options on the use of plastic bags in the country.

The most viable strategy, he said, must be able to create the necessary change in the fight against environmental degradation.

President Mahama said this when he participated in the plenary of the 4th Green Global Growth Forum (3GF) on ‘Transforming the Food Sector’ in Copenhagen, Denmark, Tuesday.

Mr Mahama was in Copenhagen on a two-day official visit at the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Denmark, Mr Helle Thorning-Schmidt.

The President said in the past, some African countries that passed legislation on the ban of plastic bags received various degrees of success.

He mentioned some African countries where legislation had been passed on the ban of or limiting plastic bag usage as Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda, Mauritius, South Africa and Somalia and said the laws achieved varying degrees of success.

“In many cases, they are virtually ignored because of difficulties with enforcement, “ he said.

The President added that the problem with plastic bag usage in Africa was compounded by poor waste management and recycling challenges.

Copying blindly

President Mahama said over the years, Ghanaians had copied blindly from the more developed nations with regard to the taste for foreign things.

Even the media and the advertising industry had joined in the fray.

“In Ghana, these days, the person with plenty is the person who is chauffeured in a large vehicle that guzzles too much petrol and is totally impractical for the conditions of the roads in his/her town or village.

“The person with plenty is the one who, despite the size of his hunger, orders a heaping plate with the finest portions of meat and finishes only half of it, leaving the rest to be discarded,” he said.

He said that was in contrast to the past when the person with plenty was the one who gave most of what he had to improve the community.

He also recalled the past when everything was reusable, and was made to have another function within the household.

He stated that the country could not afford to travel in the opposite direction.

Mr Mahama said while other nations were expounding the importance of reducing carbon footprints and introducing green things, “we seem to be indulging our fascination with wasteful excess, our fascination with ready-made products, instant food and all the other things that make us feel as though we ourselves are being consumed by the leisure and luxury that, in our estimation, is the Western world”.

He said expert findings revealed that the synthetic substance found in most plastics was linked to many diseases, including cancer and hormonal and reproductive irregularities.

He said he felt sad to notice that cotton clothing manufactured in Asia with Kente designs was in high demand in Ghana.

It was in that regard that he called for a change in mindsets among the people about foreign goods.

Later, the President attended an official dinner hosted by the Prime Minister and attended by the Crown Prince of Denmark.

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