A strong political will, coupled with a strict enforcement of environmental laws would be required, if country’s quest to safeguard its natural resource from further abuse would be achieved.
The Member of Parliament for Gomoa East, Mr Ekow Panyin Okyere Eduamoah, said this at the Central Regional launch of this year’s World Environment Day celebration at Gomoa Afransi in the Gomoa East District of the Central Region.
The event, organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the theme “Many species, one Ghana, one future” was also marked with activities including, tree planting, public forum and a route march.
The MP noted with concern that water bodies, forest reserves and the beaches were being degraded at an alarming rate due to bad environmental practices like illegal mining and chainsaw operation, yet the country lacked the political will to stem such activities.
He, therefore, urged all stakeholders, particularly traditional rulers, who are custodians of the lands to chase out people who operate illegally in their areas and also to desist from grating permission to such operators to safe-guard and conserve the environment for posterity.
He regretted that attempts he personally made to stop people from destroying forest reserves in his area, was met by threats to vote him out in the next elections.
The Central Regional Minister, Mrs Ama Benyiwa-Doe, in a speech read for her, enumerated the effects of environmental pollution on the socio-economic development of the country and appealed to individuals and firms whose activities impinge on the environment to go through the due process.
“They are to operate legally, while state institutions should also discharge their duties with utmost professionalism all in efforts to conserve and protect the environment.”
The Regional Director of EPA, Mr Francis Mbawini Zakari, urged Government to rationalize land usage by demarcating special areas for hunting, recreational and cultural purposes and also ensure that wildlife laws were strictly enforced for effective biodiversity conservation.
He described as terrible the rate of species extinction and pointed out that this could have dire consequences on the environment if left unchecked.
Mr Zakari named habitat loss, hunting, natural disasters and climate change as some of the effects of species extinction and in this regard urged Government to sponsor a complete assessment of Ghana’s biodiversity to help protect vulnerable species.
The District Chief Executive, Mr Isaac Kingsley Ahunu-Armah, called for collaboration among all stakeholders to map out strategies to address the issue.
He commended the two paramountcies in the Gomoa East and West Districts for their initiative to curb the activities of sand winners in their areas.
Mr Ahunu-Armah noted that it was very expensive to reclaim degraded lands as proceeds from such illegal activities would not be enough for that purpose.
The Omanhene of Gomoa Ajumako, Obrempong Nyanful Krampah XI, called for the implementation of a proper management system and the adaptation of integrated approach to conserve the country’s environment.
Later during an open forum, the chiefs and opinion leaders of the area urged politicians and the law enforcement agencies to consider issues of the environment serious and to do all within their power to ensure its preservation.