General News of Tuesday, 29 May 2018
The Ministry of Water Resource and Sanitation, is to finalise a draft legislative Instrument to enforce the Buffer Zone Policy in the wake of the mass destruction of water bodies by human activities.
The Buffer Zone Policy sets the procedures for managing and controlling activities such as agriculture, mining and inappropriate disposal of waste along water bodies’ banks and catchments, which affect water quality.
The process, being led by Water Resources Commission is to ensure that all designed buffer zones along streams, lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies shall be protected and sustainably managed for all.
Madam Bernadette Adjei, the Chief Legal Officer, Water Resources Commission, speaking at a Riparian Buffer Zone workshop organised by Trobenbos Ghana in collaboration with the Commission said the law would maintain the ecological and life-support functions of the buffer zones.
She said it would also sustain the multi-functionality of the buffer zones and the Riparian Buffer Zone specific to urban and peri-urban areas.
She said it was under the Commission’s Act 522 (1996), Section 35 (f), that the instrument was being drafted and it was to make regulations to facilitate a proper operational environment for its mandated functions.
She said with the coming in of a policy, there was a need back it up politically and administratively in the form of the enactment of an appropriate Legislative Instrument to ensure compliance of stipulations in the policy and consequently aimed at correcting conditions, which adversely affect water quality from land degradation.
Madam Adjei said it was expected that by the close of the year all stakeholder consultation would have be done with other collations to be forwarded to the Attorney before it gets to cabinet for onward to Parliament.
“Next step is to sensitize Members of Parliament, draft Bill laid before Parliament’s Subsidiary Legislation Committee to defend document and Bill laid before Parliament by Minister supported by technical staff,” she added.
She said the policy was to harmonize traditional and existing public institutional standards on buffer zones in Ghana and to protect, regenerate, and maintain the native/ established vegetation to improve water quality by instituting proper procedures for managing and controlling the human activities along river banks and generally in catchments of surface water bodies.
She called on stakeholders, especially traditional authorities to consult
Assemblies and the Commission before lands are used on the river banks.
Mr Mercy Owusu Ansah, the Director of Tropenbos Ghana told the Ghana News Agency that it was because of this that the workshop was organised to sensitise stakeholders on the Policy and also enable stakeholders to appreciate the importance of a legislation to back the policy.
“It is also to harness stakeholders support to advocate the passage of the Bill once it gets to Parliament,” she added.
She said the workshop is to engage stakeholders before the legislative instruction is developed to include more view and comments.