Anthony Djaba Sackey , Benjamin Lantei Lamptey , Raphael Ofosu-Dua Lee
The marine plastic menace continues to remain a big problem in Ghana as most waste management strategies and facilities appear woefully inadequate in handling the levels of plastic waste generated. The growing concerns and the problems they pose have attracted the interest of international partners, civil society organizations and ordinary citizens who today view the role of collaboration with the government as key to ending the menace. One such civil society organization is the Plastic Punch Non-governmental Organization which seeks to improve the marine environment through enhanced societal engagement with a citizen science approach. Focusing on ridden sea turtle nesting areas in Ghana of marine plastic pollution to enhance effective breeding seasons of the endangered sea turtle species like, Plastic Punch considers voluntary participation of the community as vital to its beach clean-up efforts. This strategy is compared with current strategies implemented by the government of Ghana towards stimulating societal engagement. The study assesses the impact of marine plastic along Ghana???s coast; identifies and investigates current governmental measures focused on societal engagement in comparison to Plastic Punch???s works; and collects data to evaluate the outcomes of Plastic Punch???s operation. The study finds the government organizes clean-up campaigns or exercises once in a while which have not sustainable as a result of changes in political leaderships. Awareness creation mainly by radio announcement and public broadcast which appear ineffective as volunteers are solely constituted by the police and allied security forces, local government staff, the Zoomlion staff and partisan supporters of the ruling Government. However, PP implements awareness creation mechanisms that include public outreaches such as visitations to schools, churches and community centers; community clean-up events at market squares; online broadcast of theatre series; animated jingles; and the use of gaming app. Of the level of volunteer participation at Plastic Punch events, the study finds an average of over 60 per cent regular attendances of new volunteers at each event across the years of operation, with a retention rate of 15.80%, 11.06%, 38.27% and 48.87% for periods in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively. The highest attendance recorded was 500 volunteers in the year 2019 with mean average weighted waste collected estimated at 4000 kg. PP continues to evolve in its operations and recently launched sea turtle data collection app. The study concludes recommending further cooperation and the scalability of its operations.