“It has become such a pernicious pollutant…if the producers of plastics don’t do something about it, then we might have to go the Rwanda way; in Rwanda plastics are banned, nobody use plastics and yet they are surviving,” he said.
President Mahama who was addressing members of the El-Wak Keep Fit Club in Accra on Saturday, after undertaking a health walk cautioned that “We need to come out with a solution to this plastic thing or else, then we must ban it, so that we don’t have plastics at all”.
He noted that the gravity of the plastic waste problem became more manifest following the June 3 devastating floods in Accra and its attendant deaths, adding that the water bodies became overwhelmed with plastics.
The walk, under the auspices of Blue Skies Company, was the 16th of its kind since its inception in 1986, and was in connection with the Republic Day anniversary.
It was on the theme: “Keeping fit in a healthy environment: The role of all.”
The walk covered a distance of 15 kilometres from the El-Wak Stadium to Pig Farm, New Town, Nima and back to El-Wak, in a space of three hours.
President Mahama, who has been participating in the annual exercise for some time now, asked the citizenry to re-visit the traditional values of keeping the surroundings clean.
He advocated the necessity for people to lend a helping hand during the national days set aside for sanitation, adding that it is not appropriate for people to stand aloof while government officials come around to clean and desilt choked gutters.
In view of the lackadaisical attitude of some people concerning the national sanitation days, the President said it is about time sanitary inspectors, popularly known as ‘samansaman,’ start prosecuting people for infractions on the environmental by-laws.
“What I think we should do now is not go and clean; we should go with the sanitation court and the sanitation judge, and instead of national sanitation day going to clean, the judge will be following and where your place is dirty, we just arraign you right there, he will fine you or convict you and they will send you to sleep in Nsawam for two days and when you come back, am sure that you will come and clean.”
President Mahama said unlike in times past, the sanitary inspectors are no longer feared by people because they are not enforcing the by-laws.
He observed that people are dying younger due mainly to changing lifestyles, and lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, kidney ailments, heart attack, strokes, than infectious ailments.
He attributed the phenomenon to lack of regular exercises and the eating of imbalanced diet.
Dr Ahmed Mustapha, Minister of Youth and Sports stated that the ministry plans to promote good environmental habits through the various keep fit clubs in the country.
He said the devastating floods that hit parts of Accra had exposed the negative effects of indiscriminate garbage disposal.
Dr Michael Abu Sakara, 2012 Presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party, who also joined the President’s entourage in the walk urged all and sundry to exercise regularly, adding: “We will all be healthier and be able to contribute better to national development, if we exercise regularly.”
Abdul Karim Hatsu, Chairman of the El-Wak Keep Fit Club, said there is no better medicine than at least, a 30-minute exercise three times a week.
“Keeping fit boosts our energy levels, reduces our weight, and also promotes better and sounder sleep.”
Mr Hatsu gave a health tip on how to detoxify the body: “First thing in the morning, take a very deep breath-in for four seconds, then hold your breath for eight seconds and release it gradually for four seconds.
Then stop breathing for four seconds and release your breath. After that, take a glass of water.”