What happens when the plastic bucket we bought from the Makola Market becomes old and breaks into pieces? What happens when we no longer need plastic bottles after drinking its content? What happens to our broken plastic chairs and washing basins? The good news is that plastic waste can be recycled and granted a new lease on life.
Plastic waste has become one of the most severe threats to human nature. According to the Geneva-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), by 2015, 60% of all plastics produced had become plastic waste. Plastic waste has become “ubiquitous,” found in the air, soil, freshwater, and the sea. Plastic waste in the oceans and seas off the coast of Africa has increased from an estimated 4.4 million tonnes in 2010 to 17 million tonnes in 2022. According to the World Economic Forum, Ghana generates 840,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, and only 9.5% of that figure is collected for recycling.
To tackle this issue, The Church of Pentecost and the Jospong Group of companies have partnered to help segregate plastic waste at home before it reaches the final disposal sites, drains, and oceans. The ongoing plastic waste project between the Jospong Group of Companies and The Church of Pentecost, which started a couple of years ago, is gathering momentum. Under the program, church leaders educate their members to segregate their plastic waste from other forms of waste and forward them to aggregators who will, in turn, sell them to UPPR Ghana Limited.
The Church of Pentecost has paid critical attention to environmental education and sustainable development. Church leaders are encouraged to educate their members to keep their communities clean, plant trees, and segregate their plastic waste from other forms of waste in the waste stream. Zoomlion Ghana Limited has taken a keen interest in improving the sanitation situation in the country for over 17 years. In 1998, the company introduced a Free Waste bin promotion in which thousands of households were given free 240-litre waste bins at no cost to help partly separate plastic waste from other forms. Additionally, the company initiated public education programs to educate the public on how to protect their health through proper waste separation, storage, and disposal.
“The Plastic waste menace is a huge challenge all over the world.,” says Mrs. Florence Larbi, Chief Operating Officer of the Environment and Sanitation Cluster of the Jospong Group. “Jospong Group and Zoomlion Ghana Limited have teamed up with The Church of Pentecost to help our dear nation Ghana manage the situation better by educating church members to separate their plastic waste from other forms at home. By this, the plastic will not go to the landfill but will be sent to the right places such as Jospong Group recycling and manufacturing plants such as the IRECOPS and UPPR Ghana Limited,” Mrs. Larbi explained further.
Various Jospong Group subsidiaries, such as the Universal Plastic Product and Recycling (UPPR) company as well as Zoomlion Ghana Limited, held various buyback events throughout the country from March 13th to 19th, 2023, under this year’s Environmental Care Campaign of The Church of Pentecost, which focused on Plastic waste. They bought tonnes of plastic waste from various districts of the church nationwide. The Coordinator for National Discipleship and Leadership Development Committee (NDLDC), Apostle Samuel Gakpetor, said the exercise is necessary to help the country rid itself of plastic waste while making good use of the plastics collected. Even after the environmental campaign, he called on all church members to continue collecting plastic waste for sale to Jospong Group.
He said, “Plastic waste is causing a lot of havoc around and negatively impacting the health of people, even in the country.” He, therefore, called on all church members to continue collecting plastic waste for sale to Jospong Group even after the environmental campaign. UPPR Ghana Limited was selected to partner with the church because the company has the requisite machinery to process the plastic waste into other usable items that will benefit society.
“UPPR is in the business of recycling plastics and adding value to them,” says Mr. Perumalsamy SureshKumar, General Manager of UPPR Ghana Limited, who piloted the buyback event in Bompata, Kumasi, and Ashaiman in Accra. “We have been doing this for the past ten years, manufacturing waste bins, chairs, bin liners, and other items for households, waste management companies such as Zoomlion Ghana Limited and other members of the Environmental Service Providers Association.”
“As a company, we firmly believe in supporting the United Nations in its quest to build sustainable cities and communities as stated in the Sustainable Development Goals number 11, as well as goals 14 and 15, which talk about ‘Life underwater’ and ‘Life on land,’ respectively. This can easily apply to plastic pollution on land and in the sea.
“Our primary focus is on PET bottles,” says Mrs. Sharon Lamptey, Head of Zoomlion’s International Business Development Unit. “We have intentions of adding more value to these PET bottles.
“Our interest is in plastics,” says Ms. Sophia Nana Kudjordji, Chief Corporate Communications Officer of the Jospong Group, adding, “We are excited to partner with The Church of Pentecost in this great venture for God and country.”
The global plastic waste management market is expected to grow from $35.25 billion in 2022 to $41.39 billion in 2026. Hopefully, the Jospong Group – The Church of Pentecost partnership will help Ghana’s economy thrive.
Written by Isabella Gyau Orhin.