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German Ambassador says environment should not be neglected

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Mr Eberhard Schanze, German Ambassador to Ghana, has appealed to Ghanaians not to overly focus on the expected revenue from oil to the neglect of associated environmental risks and prevention.

He said it was important to put in place adequate measures to deal with pollution and other hazards.

Additionally, the nation should do everything to ensure the protection and development of the other sectors of the economy including agriculture, timber and gold resources.

Mr Schanze said overdependence on the oil sector could create real problems for the economy should the sector suffer any difficulties.

The Ambassador was opening a three-day international conference that discussed the management of resources and the environment at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.

It was jointly organized by the Technical University of Mines of Freiberg, Germany, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and KNUST School of Business.

“Environmental disasters of oil and gas exploitation: lessons from Gulf of Mexico” was the theme.

The meeting brought together 50 participants from Ghana, Germany, Nigeria, and China.

Mr Schanze pledged his country’s determination to support Ghana to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving poverty.

Mr Jonathan Allotey, the Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, said more would need to be done to ensure that the oil and gas exploitation did not adversely impact on the environment.

He listed among the long term negative effects that should not be glossed over as the depletion of fisheries, tourism and agriculture, pollution of the sea, mangroves and beaches.

He said weak institutional capacity to manage the environment, health and safety challenges, the absence of logistics and capacity to manage oil and chemical spills were issues that needed urgent attention.

Mr Allotey called for the formulation of a petroleum development master plan to provide a road map for future development of oil, upstream gas, transportation and processing, proper generation and transmission of petrochemicals.

Source: GNA

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