Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation on Tuesday called on Ghanaians to segregate waste to aid easy recycling that would ensure a green economy.
He said when waste was properly segregated; it would enable the private organisations and non-governmental organisations who were into recycling and processing of waste in the country to recycle easily.
He has, however, commended the many private institutions as well as academic institutions that had taken the lead in opting for the use of biogas as a source of alternative energy to power their operations.
Speaking at a national networking forum and a regional policy dialogue on Switch Africa Green forum being hosted in Accra, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said the efforts of greening Africa and for that matter, Ghana, was very critical to the government.
“Switching Africa green is something that is dear to the heart of the Government of Ghana and we think that by 2020, our fuel or power generation emission should contain about 10 per cent of bio energy, and that is the aim of the Ghana government”, he said.
There is a lot of biogas around so SWITCH African Project is important to the country.”
The Switch Africa Green Project, developed and funded by the European Union seeks to support African countries in their transition to an inclusive green economy by promoting programmes that facilitates a shift to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) patterns and practices.
The forum is jointly being organised by the Ministry of Environment Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre (GNCPC), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), United Nations Development Programme UNDP), and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).
However, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in partnership with the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Office for Project Services is implementing the Switch Africa Green project in six countries which are Ghana, Mauritius, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Uganda, and Kenya.
Professor Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment Science Technology and Innovation said the public needed to be educated on waste segregation as it was a challenge.
“We think that by 2020, our fuel or power generation emission should contain about 10 per cent of bio energy, and that is the aim of the current government. There are a lot of biogas around so SWITCH African Project is important to the country.”
He assured the stakeholders of government’s commitment to supporting the project, saying government had already taken steps to strengthen the use of green energy by reducing taxes and encouraging the use of biofuels in the last budget.
Dr Patrick Mwesigye, a Regional Coordinator, UNEP, said the first phase of the project was expected to end in December this year while the second phase would commence in January 2018 with an estimated cost of €20 million.
He said: “In April 2014, we came to Ghana to meet the stakeholders and there were proposals sent for grants. The intention of this particular project is to reduce poverty, protect the environment which improves climate change and you can promote climate resilience depending on how these enterprises start using less to produce more because usually it is the things that get wasted that we use.”
In a speech read on his behalf, Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director of EPA, said the forum was being hosted by the Agency as the national implementing institution to discuss the opportunities, challenges and barriers faced by the private sector in transitioning to an inclusive, low carbon green economy that promotes SCP practices and patterns in the country.
He said the Africa Green project was also being implemented among various institutions within the private sector the Greater Accra, Upper West, Volta, Ashanti, and the central Regions.
Mr Kingsley Bekoe Ansah, the National Coordinator of Switch Africa Green Project, said: ‘the project is supporting countries in three folds: the policy support; green business development; and the networking facility.’
“We are giving the government the support to produce policies and programmes, we also give grants to the Macro Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to start green business or to implement sustainable consumption and production patterns in their existing businesses, and trying to get all the players to meet and inform decision making.”
Mr Ansah said so far in Ghana, five institutions were being supported under the Switch Africa Green support Project.
These he said included the Environmental Agency (EPA), being supported on Ghana e-waste model; the Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre, on it installation of biogas digesters in hotels and public toilets; the Association of Ghana Industries on improved institutional Biomass Cook stoves and ovens for MSMEs.
“There is also the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kumasi on implementing industrial symbiosis and introduction of environmental management system to SMEs and University of Cape Coast on developing a One-Stop Business and Policy Centre for the establishment of Eco-innovative MSMEs” he added.