Thursday, June 20, 2024

University of Northampton leads discussions on mulching solution for plastic waste

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Staff Writer
Staff Writer
Africa Feeds Staff writers are group of African journalists focused on reporting news about the continent and the rest of the world.

The University of Northampton through its Fresh Produce Impact Hub (FRESHPPACT) has held stakeholder discussion to engage key stakeholders on the research solutions being developed by the University and its partners to help address plastic pollution in Ghana.

It is estimated that 840,000 tons of plastic waste is generated in Ghana annually, with limited recycling facilities and initiatives being undertaken by mostly private entities. Government’s efforts like the attempted ban on single use plastic in 2015 did not yield the desired results, hence substantial challenges still exist.

The meeting thus brought together key stakeholders to discuss plastic pollution mitigation in Ghana and showcased the innovative solutions being developed and tested to address the significant environmental challenges posed by plastic pollution in Ghana.

The event featured presentations and policy discussions which emphasised the socio-economic and food security benefits of sustainable plastic waste management practices.

“The objective of this stakeholders’ roundtable discussion was to engage stakeholders on the innovative plastic pollution mitigation solutions we are developing and trialling. One of these solutions involves the undertaking of a comprehensive trial aimed at conducting a comparative research experiment of various innovative and sustainable mulching solutions to assess their suitability to serve as an alternative to plastic agricultural mulch.

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Use of plastic for mulching

What we hope to achieve in the end are; an assessment of how the mulching alternatives compare in their ability to retain moisture, suppress weeds and support high yield as well as assess the individual capability and potential of the mulching alternatives as innovative and sustainable farming practices which can be adopted as alternatives to plastic agricultural mulch,” Associate Professor in International Sustainable Development Law at University of Northampton Dr Ebenezer Laryea explains.

Use of coconut husks for mulching

“The alternative mulching materials to be tested are bio-based and made from materials such as coconut husks and other agricultural waste. If successful, this test could provide a path for Ghanaian farmers to adopt more sustainable farming practices, thereby significantly contributing to the nation’s soil fertility and food security in the short, medium, and long term,” he added.

Dr Ebenezer Laryea

The meeting was held against the backdrop that plastic’s pervasive use since the 1950s has led to significant environmental impact, with over 8.3 billion tons produced globally, affecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems and contributing to climate change.

The Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Foundation at Blue Skies Ghana, Mr Alistair Djimatey said as an organisation that is concerned about the environment, they consider this project as worth associating with.

“At Blue Skies, we depend on soil to grow our fruits, hence a healthy soil that produces juicy fruits is something we will always advocate for. This initiative falls in line with our sustainability policy and we are proud to be part of it,” he stated.

Mr Alistair Djimatey

According to a report from the United Nations (UN) plastic life cycle, from production to disposal, influences global warming. In 2018, the world produced 359 million metric tons of plastic, with a considerable portion mismanaged.

The FRESHPACT project is currently being funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and is implemented in partnership with the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).


Blue Skies unveils solutions to tackle plastic pollution in Ghana

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