zion

 

This he said would be carried out together with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other partners to ensure sanity and reduce significantly the impact of unsustainable and negative environmental practices on national development.

Mr Opong-Fosu, who made this known at a media engagement in Accra yesterday, said the cost of the Gross Domestic Product annually in relation to environmental degradation is 10 per cent.

He said environmental sustainability had become the centre stage of global development agenda discussion and policy dialogue, hence, the pledge by the international community to help reduce carbon emissions due to the challenges on development as a result of climate change.

Mr Opong-Fosu who is also the Member of Parliament for Amenfi East said Ghana was committed to this agenda and had signed on to a number of conventions to the effect.

He said Ghana had recently signed Minamata Conventions with the commitment to reduce in air, water bodies and pollution by hazardous chemicals and harmful pollutants.

He said the ministry was concerned about the continue environmental degradation in the country particularly, related to illegal mining, unapproved developments, haphazard development, destruction of green belts, land degradation, environmental pollution, poor sanitation , chemical mismanagement and illegal importation of electronic waste.

“Notably among these challenges are areas reserved as green belts, buffer zones around water bodies, open spaces, removal of avenue trees along major urban roads and illegal siting of commercial and industrial activities in residential areas,” he said.

The Minister said the Direct Principle of State, chapter six of the 1992 Constitution places an obligation on every citizen as a duty to protect and safeguard the environment for prosperity.

“I am calling on the citizens to ensure that this requirement of the constitution is enforced.”

He said institutions under MESTI would train prosecutors to prosecute environmental offenders in collaboration with the Judiciary.

He said: “The EPA is opening new offices in the districts to support the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies to enforce compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

“Under the country’s environmental laws, it is an offence to undertake any activity that is likely to impact significantly on the environment without obtaining the necessary environmental permit.”

Mr Opong-Fosu directed the EPA to enforce the requirements of permit before trees are cut, particularly in the urban areas to curtail the indiscriminate felling of trees.

Mr Daniel Amlalo, EPA Executive Directory said the Agency had written to the Chief Justice, Mrs Georgina Theodora Wood for the establishment of Green Court to facilitate the cases of environmental and green cases.

He said the EPA had just finished with the review of its educational strategy which would be launched soon for implementation and expressed the hope that the media would help in educating the citizenry on environmental issues.

Source:GNA