AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem Mine has introduced a new initiative called the “Plastic Bottle Collection Initiative” aimed at promoting the proper disposal of plastics and reducing plastic usage on the mine's site by 70 percent.
During the Mine's celebration of this year's World Environment Day under the theme “Beat Plastic Pollution,” Mr Samuel Boakye Pobee, Managing Director of the Mine, made the announcement.
He explained the purpose of the initiative, stating, “We have this giant metallic bottle design bin placed outside so henceforth when we drink water, we will squeeze that bottle and deposit some into the bin.”
Mr Pobee emphasized that the project would be expanded to other strategic locations within the Mine. He stressed the importance of taking proactive measures, stating, “If we do not take the initiative, nothing positive will happen.”
He highlighted the alarming impact of plastic waste on the environment, saying, “Each year, millions of tons of plastic waste end up in our oceans, rivers, and landfills, choking our planet and leaving a lasting impact on future generations.”
Quoting the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Mr Pobee shared the concerning statistics, “At least eight million tons of plastics are dumped into our oceans each year, which is equivalent to dumping one garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute. If nothing is done, this will increase to two garbage trucks a minute by 2030 and four per minute by 2050.”
Mr Pobee highlighted the mandatory waste segregation policy at Iduapriem, stating, “It is mandatory that all waste generated is segregated at source, and this includes the separation of recyclable waste, of which plastics form a greater percentage.”
He also expressed the Mine's commitment to finding innovative ways to further reduce plastic pollution on-site.
To combat the plastic menace, Mr Pobee encouraged the adoption of alternatives to plastics whenever possible. In cases where alternatives are not feasible, he advised practising the three R's: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle plastics.
Mr Nixon Asante, Vice President of Environment, addressed the global scale of plastic production and management. He stated, “Globally, we produce 430 million tons of plastic annually. Two-thirds of this plastic is single-use, nine percent is recycled, 17 percent is incinerated, 22 percent is mismanaged, and 46 percent ends up in landfills.”
Mr Asante called upon individuals, institutions, organizations, and the government to carefully consider their policies on plastic management, as it has implications for climate change.
Furthermore, Mr Asante appealed to teachers to educate students extensively on the adverse effects of plastics to contribute to the fight against this global crisis, which endangers ecosystems, wildlife, and human health.
Mr Lorenzo Hasford, Assistant Programme Officer at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Tarkwa Office, identified the burning of large machine tires by scrap dealers as a pressing issue in Tarkwa.
He urged mining companies to cease removing these tires until proper handling methods can be established to protect the environment.
In recognition of exceptional performance, some departments and contractors of Iduapriem Mine were acknowledged and rewarded, serving as motivation for others to follow suit.