The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) commemorated World Environment Day with a significant event on JUNE 5, 2023. This programme was organized by the Department of Sociology and Social Work in the Faculty of Social Sciences of College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CoHSS) and the Environmental science students in the College of Science (CoS). The event was held at the Faculty of Social Sciences New Block Auditorium. Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Sefa Boampong, a prominent faculty member, led the event, which was themed "Beat Plastic Pollution."
Dominic Agyapong, President of the Environmental science Students’ Association at KNUST, opened the event by tracing the history of World Environment Day. He underscored the importance of a sustained commitment to tackling plastic pollution, stating, "Beating the plastic pollution is an agenda and a commitment we have to make not periodically but frequently."
The event featured distinguished guest speakers, including Mr. Samuel Oteng, Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Prof. Jonathan Nartery Horgah from the College of Science, and Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Sefa Boampong from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Each speaker offered insights from their respective fields, all in alignment with the event's theme.
Mr. Oteng shed light on the complications arising from plastic waste disposal and the increasing rate of plastic waste production in Ghana. He discussed strategies devised by the EPA to mitigate waste pollution. "Every year over 400 million pounds of plastics is produced worldwide and about one-third of it is found in the sea," he revealed. He urged the audience to completely avoid single-use plastics and highlighted the existence of 19 recognized plastic waste recycling companies in Ghana.
Dr. (Mrs.) Mary Sefa Boampong, with her expertise in environmental sociology, delivered a compelling speech titled, 'Why are we here? Where are we going?' She traced the history of plastic usage and emphasized the role of human evolution in environmental conservation. She called for a collaborative effort from the government, stakeholders, and individuals to rid the environment of plastic waste pollution.
Prof. Horgah provided a scientific perspective on plastic waste pollution and its environmental implications. He acknowledged the widespread use of plastics but criticized the consequences of its production, consumption, and disposal. He stated, "After one-third of the plastic waste produced is recycled, the others end up choking the drainages creating floods, pollute the soil, destroys the aesthetics of our environment, wash into the ocean where fish mistakes them for food which in the long run affect the human’s consumption health, burning of the plastics which pollute the air and has a contribution of cancer infection."
The event concluded with a panel discussion, where the speakers’ answered questions related to environmental issues. The panelists proposed solutions such as reorienting human mindset towards plastic usage, initiating public campaigns, and collaborating with private institutions to tackle plastic pollution.
The event was graced by other dignitaries including the COHSS Provost, Prof. Charles Ofosu Marfo, who chaired the event; College Registrar, Mr. Ebenezer T. Otieku; Professor Esmerada Manful, Head of Sociology and Social Work Department; COHSS Executives; Lecturers of The College of Science and College of Humanities, and Prof. Emmanuel Acheampong,HOD, Department of Silviculture and Forest Management and Members and staff from the EPA Branch office in Kumasi.