Representatives of 13 African countries have ended a two-day workshop which sought to identify and partner interested governments to reduce the environmental health impact of hazardous pollutants in Africa.
The two-day workshop, organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the World Bank, discussed the challenges confronting participating countries and brainstormed on measures to address environmental health issues.
It also attempted to explore areas of collaboration to help Africa meet its obligation under the various environmental multilateral conventions.
The participating countries were Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Senegal.
Others were Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, Togo and Burkina Faso. Challenges
Addressing participants in the opening ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo, said the government was committed to poverty reduction and sustainable growth driven by agriculture and private sector development.
However, she said, rapid economic growth, increasing urbanisation and expansion in agriculture had led to serious challenges relating to the generation of huge quantities of hazardous materials and industrial waste in the cities and the municipalities.
Besides, Dr Heloo indicated that the country’s natural resources were being depleted at an alarming rate with pollution emerging as a serious health threat to majority of the Ghanaian people. Remedies
Touching on measures to curb the menace, the Deputy Minister said President John Dramani Mahama had prioritised sound environmental management and was committed to reducing the high cost of environmental degradation resulting primarily from forest depletion, soil degradation and related issues.
She observed that the government had the objective to reduce the present levels of chemicals and reduce air pollution by 50 per cent by 2020. Call for collaborative efforts
In a presentation, representatives of participating countries called for collaborative efforts to address environmental health issues since it was an emerging challenge for most African countries.
According to them, the management of hazardous waste had a linkage with people’s livelihoods and as such needed to be addressed by all.
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