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European Union, Plastic Punch Holds Cleanup Exercise at Laboma Beach in Accra

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Report by Bernard K DADZIE


The European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana, in partnership with Plastic Punch, a non-governmental organization, and volunteers on Saturday September 25, 2021 undertook a clean-up exercise at the Laboma Beach in Accra.

The event was under the auspices of Plastic Punch, dubbed: “#EUBeachCleanup”, a global movement that brings together people from around the world with one common purpose of protecting the oceans and marine life.

Cleaning up the oceans is fundamental, but it cannot be the main strategy to deal with the problem of marine litter, which needs to be tackled at its source.

Improved waste and wastewater management, increased recycling, avoidance of single-use products and product eco-design, can efficiently prevent marine litter. Such behavioral and policy choices require intensive education and awareness creation.

Addressing the gathering, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, said that marine litter and ocean pollution has had an extreme impact on both human and marine life, damaging the environment and affecting economies.

According to him, EU was committed to having seas and oceans environmentally, economically and socially sustainable, both in the EU and worldwide. And also to support Ghana not only in awareness creation but also in finding proper, environmental and green solutions to solve the waste problem in the country.

Ambassador Irchad Razaaly, the Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana, added, “In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the changing of our daily habits can also trigger positive change, and can as well have a positive impact on our oceans.”

The organization was launched in 2018 with the sole objective of protecting the coastal environment from plastic waste, providing sustainable waste management solutions, raising awareness of the harms of a single plastic.

Mr. Richmond Kennedy Quarcoo, Executive Director of Plastic Punch said the cleanup exercise has been a monthly ritual that they do, by cleaning petal nesting beaches where turtles come and nest.

According to him, protecting the species in the sea requires collective involvement and therefore there is the need to know the dangers these species face when our beaches are filled with plastic waste.

He said, “Every action counts: not only action taken at the beach, but at home; not only taken next to the ocean, but also inland. Each one of us can take part in this movement, no matter where we are. Each one of us can make a difference.”

He was of the view that, the country is losing a lot of revenue in the tourism industry due to filth in our beaches. He added that, they are using the cleanup exercise to collect important data on marine litter to influence policy direction in general.

During the exercise Mr. Kennedy said it was about time attitudes changed towards the pollution of our waters, sea and the oceans because the damages are permanent, as plastics do not decay.

According to him, the clean-up exercise was not conducted in Ghana only, but globally the same day in order to raise awareness on beach clean-ups.

“We will not make a difference today but we will make a difference in making sure the youth of the country and in Europe as well use less plastic reuse items,” he stressed.

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