MTN Takes 21 Day Y’elo Care to James Town Beach, Picks Plastics for Recycling

Plastic waste

Accra, Ghana, June 7, 2018//-Staff volunteer of MTN Ghana defied the scorching sunny weather on Wednesday to rid the James Town beach of plastic materials, as part of the company’s annual MTN 21 Days of Y’ello Care activities.

The plastic bottles picked during the cleaning up exercise were sent to Nelplast Ghana Limited, a Ghanaian  company which  recycles them into cheaper road and building blocks in  Ashaiman, which is about 26 kilometres (km) from Accra.

Ghana’s 254 Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) are struggling to contain tonnes of waste they generate daily in the West African country.

This is due to the fact that Ghana’s burgeoning population is producing far more waste than its obsolete and limited infrastructure can contain.

Ghana’s sprawling cities namely Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Sekondi-Takoradi and Tamale disgorge more than 7,000 metric tonnes of waste a day.

Accra, the nation’s capital and its host region-the Greater Accra with  a population of about four million generates about 2,200 tonnes of solid waste every day, and out of this only 1800 tonnes are collected daily, leaving a deficit of 400 tonnes uncollected.

According to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) solid waste generated in Accra alone comprises 65 percent organic, 3 percent paper, 3.5 percent plastic, 3.6 percent glass, 2.5 percent metal, 1.7 percent textile, 17.1 percent of inert metals and 1.2 percent being residue of other waste materials.

All these waste are expected to be cleared by the overburdened AMA but they end up collecting a fraction which creates health hazards for the inhabitants, and tourists.

In spite of these,  only 10% of the plastic waste ever gets recycled in Ghana. The Ghanaian government has threatened to ban certain kinds of plastic materials similar to Rwanda and Kenya but it was worried about the potential job losses.

But the Director of Business Development of Neplast Ghana Ltd, Philip Owusu-Gyamfi told journalists on Wednesday that waste is a big business which puts food on tables of many people in the Ashaiman municipality and other parts of the country.

Through the plastics business, we are able to create hundreds of jobs for the teeming unemployed youth in the Ashaiman area, he added.

How the plastic blocks are produced

 Mr Owusu-Gyamfi explained that Nelplast, which makes plastic shopping bags, was pushed into the plastic blocks business as part of its corporate social responsibility to clear the country of plastic waste.

We are using our engineering knowledge to come up with a production process that mixes sand with shredded plastic and red oxide to make one-square foot pavement blocks, he stated.

“We use all kinds of plastics except PVC pipes.  We have a ratio with which we use to mix the plastics, sand and red oxide.  But we normally use more plastics than any of the material in the production”, Mr Owusu-Gyamfi revealed.

The company currently produces about 500 plastic blocks per day and it is expected to increase the figure when it scales up massive production across the country under the “One-District, One-Factory”, the Ghana government’s flagship industrialization programme, he further revealed.

MTN Y’ello care

MTN Ghana’s advisor of education portfolio, Ebenezer Terkper said the cleaning up of the James Town beach formed part of the company’s green initiative to rid the country of waste.

Instructively, the  21-day long staff volunteerism programme in which employees across MTN’s operations across the world are encouraged to take time off to physically get involved in activities that will uplift the communities they operate in.
It also offers MTN staff the opportunity to brighten lives through this volunteer work.

 By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report


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