Ghana confronted with environmental challenges

Ghana is still confronted with serious and complex environmental challenges, despite the various interventions by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over the last 40 years.

These challenges include waste management, illegal mining, logging, deforestation, noise, water and air pollution.

This was contained in a keynote address read on behalf of the Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, at the launch of the EPA’s 40th anniversary in Accra. EPA stakeholders

The Vice-President urged the EPA to engage the assemblies, the private sector and other key stakeholders in addressing the waste management problem in Ghana.

He applauded the agency for raising awareness of environmental issues and securing the commitment of some individuals, communities and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to initiate sound measures to protect and enhance the environment.

“I am aware of the AKOBEN flagship programme of the agency known as the Environmental Performance Rating and Public Disclosure Programme, the first of its kind in Africa, aimed at promoting environmental compliance and the adoption of best practices in the manufacturing industries and large mining sectors,” he added. Expectations from 40th Anniversary 

He said it was his wish that the 40th anniversary of the agency would be used to intensely highlight and soberly reflect on environmental challenges.

Mr Amissah-Arthur said he expected the agency to commit itself to strengthening compliance enforcement strategies and actions at all levels.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, said deforestation, coastal and marine resource degradation, the destruction of biodiversity, desertification, climate variability and change, pollution of all forms, the proliferation and mismanagement of chemicals, illegal mining, among others, were challenging Ghana’s environmental management capacity.

He said that challenge had exposed institutional shortcomings at all levels. New environmental policies approved

Dr Oteng-Adjei said the government had approved the new environmental and climate change policy and he expected that the EPA would be guided by that key policy document in its operations.

He said the agency should also facilitate the effective co-ordination of the implementation of the document by all relevant stakeholders. Government subventions

 He said the EPA was one of the public sector institutions that had been directed to self-finance itself and invariably go off government subventions within the next two years from 2014.

Dr Oteng-Adjei promised his ministry’s continued support to the EPA in that regard to ensure that it lived up to its mandate. EPA’s collaboration

The Executive Director of the EPA, Mr Daniel Amlalo, said 40 years in the life of the EPA was a long period that came with achievements, challenges and lessons which called for an occasion like that to reflect, celebrate and plan for the future.

He said the launch, under the auspices of the Ministry of Environment, Science,Technology and Innovation, was on the theme: “40 years of Environmental Protection in Ghana”.

Mr Amlalo said the agency would collaborate with public and private sector institutions to implement projects that would add value to waste governance.

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