Beating plastic pollution: making schools more recycling-friendly within Accra

In Ghana, single-use plastics, such as plastic bags, and bottles, have become an enduring menace that affects the environment and biodiversity. Approximately 5% of plastic waste is collected for recycling each year, with the rest finding its way into landfills and the ocean.

To contribute to addressing this menace, A Rocha Ghana, in partnership with SESA Recycling, has collaborated to bring awareness and the practicality of recycling and upcycling to over 15 schools across the Greater Accra region. The project, which comes off initiative which forms part of A Rocha Ghana’s school’s environmental education programme, seeks to tackle the issues of single-use plastic and its effects on the environment under the thematic area of addressing pollution.

In support of the program, the schools were presented with segregation also given receptacle bins and jumbo sacks by the Coca-Cola bottling company in Ghana and individuals.

Understanding plastics

During the school engagements various resources, including presentations and using citizen science approaches such as ‘’the plastic detective’’ were deployed. This helped gauge student’s awareness of and knowledge of the kinds of plastics in the system and proper identification, proportion of single-use plastics, their contribution to plastic pollution and its negative impact on the environment.

The 4 R’s

The separation, crush and drop exercise, in which student’s 

separate plastic bottles and sachet water rubbers to be collected in the segregation receptacles was then used to educate the students on how to properly handle their plastics using the 4 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) and on how to 

properly use their receptacle.  These plastics would then be weighed and collected by SESA

The students and schools participated with great excitement and pledged to help make their school and Accra cleaner.

Alongside this ongoing programme, in order to beat plastic pollution, upcycling art sessions will be conducted with selected schools led by sustainability artist SAhadji, in collaboration with the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Ghana and Osei-Duro. Long-term goals include promoting mental shifts, advancing climate action against plastic pollution, and enhancing the local environment.

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