The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is advocating strict enforcement of Ghana’s environmental laws to help curb the increasing negative health and economic impact of pollution, especially air pollution.
Deputy Director, Environmental Quality Standards at EPA, Mr Emmanuel Appoh, who made the call noted “the authorities must apply the laws fully.” as the only panacea to help protect lives and reduce cost.
‘We need to enhance the enforcement of environmental laws to protect ourselves from air pollution, which is costing the nation a fortune,” Mr Appoh, noted.
According to him air pollution is more serious in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA); and stated that the Agency, would in collaboration with its stakeholders begin to enforce strictly the standards and guidelines of the EPA Act 1994 (Act 490), relating to the pollution of air, water, land and noise.
Mr Appoh said the EPA would work in effective partnership with stakeholders and to catalyze change to make environmental protection and sustainable development commonly held values among the citizenry.
He assured of the Agency’s commitment in collaborating with government agencies, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) and institutions to control pollution and protect the environment.
The Deputy Director, Environmental Quality Standards made the advocacy during a training programme organized by the Environmental Protection Agency for members of the Parliamentary Press Corps at its Institute of Environmental Studies located at Amasaman near Accra.
The training was to equip Parliamentary reporters on activities of the EPA and related matters to bolster greater partnership in promoting environmental issues across the country.
Topics discussed includes the EPA Laws and Regulations, Hazardous Waste Management, Environmental Quality Standards, Pesticides Management, Ozone and Climate Change.
On his part, Acting Director Legal of the EPA, Mr Ekow Gurah-Sey said his outfit is on the verge of amending some sections of the EPA laws and regulations to make it more effective in tackling environmental issues.
These includes portions of the Environmental Assessment Regulations of 1999 (L.I.1652) to make the offences and penalties under the rule more punitive against offenders.
He said the Agency had already forwarded its proposed amendments to the Attorney Generals (AG’s) Office after which they would also forward the Amendment Bill to Parliament for consideration.
The Deputy Director at the Chemicals Management Unit (CMU) of the EPA, Mr Lovelace Sarpong stated government was engaging scrap collectors and providing them training on how best to practice their business to protect the environment.
Additionally, the EPA is embarking on environmental awareness campaigns for scrap dealers, with a further view to give them alternative livelihoods.
He revealed that burning of car tyres and other materials and the extraction of copper from electronic waste were illegal under the new law.
Prof Abeku Blankson, a Consultant to the EPA, urged the media not only to develop an interest in the issues of the environment but must sustain it to get the needed results.
He urged the Press Corps to take advantage of its proximity to the Legislature to effectively shape public opinion on environmental issues.