The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has directed cement manufacturing companies to stop using polypropylene (PP) woven bags for bagging cement. 

The Executive Director of the EPA, Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, who gave that directive, said although PPs had properties that made them the preferred bagging material, they were harmful to the environment because the materials were non-biodegradable.

He said the directive had become necessary because some cement manufacturing companies had departed from the use of paper bags, which are degradable and environmentally friendly, to PP bags.

“We are sounding caution to the industry players that this will not be allowed to persist; we will prevent the use of this material through the use of law and regulations,” he stressed. 

t a press briefing held in Accra yesterday, Dr Kokofu said the only permitted means of bagging cement was strictly the use of paper bags.

He explained that as a measure to control the use of PP bags by cement companies, the EPA was collaborating with the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to ensure that the influx of those materials would be controlled to the minimum.

“There are some materials in the system already, so together with the GRA, we will put a team together to know which companies brought them into the country and are using them,” he said.

He added that the culprits would be made to bear the cost of the proper disposal of those materials.

“With the materials that are already in the system, the EPA and the GSA will identify cement companies that are bagging with those PP bags and use the polluter pays principle to ensure that they bear the cost of proper disposal,” he said.

On the other hand, he said the EPA would work with the Customs Division of GRA to control the importation of the PP material.

“We will let Customs know that the PP materials are being controlled so bringing them into the country must be strictly under control.

 We need to know who is bringing it in, the quantity being brought into the country and the methods of disposal.

If we are satisfied, we can then allow some level of it to be brought in, otherwise it will not be allowed,” he added.

Dr Kokofu also said EPA and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) were concerned about the general issue of plastic waste pollution menace in the country.

He said it was in that regard that the national plastic management policy had been developed.

“The MESTI minister will soon engage members of the public and stakeholders for the full implementation of this policy,” he added.

Particularly, he said the single-use and under 20 micron plastics posed environmental and health threats, including being a nuisance to the marine ecosystem.

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