Mining companies continue to degrade the environment – EPA

Mr Daniel Amlalo, Acting Executive Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has expressed worry about the continued negative activities of mining companies that degraded the environment.

He said the country’s river bodies were polluted through cyanide spillage while the forest reserves were also taken over by mining companies and private miners, which if not addressed immediately Ghana was in danger of losing its natural resources.

Mr Amlalo expressed the concern at a day’s capacity building workshop for stakeholders and friends of the environment in Accra on Wednesday.

The workshop was aimed at assessing and monitoring the cost of environmental degradation project to understand the methodology that would deliver indicators in shared growth.

Mr Amlalo said environmental degradation was affecting the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and stressed the need for sustainable use of the country’s natural resources in order to preserve river bodies and the vegetation cover.

He said the Country’s Environmental Analysis (CEA) by the World Bank, which produced estimates of environmental degradation in forestry, mining, land resources and urban environment, showed that Ghana lost 10 per cent of its GDP through economic cost of degradation in those sectors.

Mr Amlalo said EPA was aiming at putting measures in place to stop the importation of waste materials, which would help in addressing the pollution and called on institutions concerned with the environment to join hands to address the problem.

He said the recent outbreak of cholera in some parts of the country could be attributed to the pollution of water bodies especially the coastal areas and that there was the need to adopt hygienic practices to address the problem.

Dr Ton Van der Zon, Environment and Water Advisor at the Netherlands Embassy speaking on the topic: “Assessing and Monitoring Costs of Environmental Degradation” observed that the country was losing a lot through negative activities on the environment.

He said Ghana was losing a greater amount of GDP annually through activities on the forests, which accounts for 3.49 per cent; water supply, sanitation and hygiene, 2.1 per cent; agriculture 1.57 per cent while wildlife, 0.56 per cent and fisheries 0.27 per cent.

Dr Zon said there had been a growing awareness internationally on the need to monitor and see whether environmental endowments were used responsibly and stressed the need for the country’s environmental experts to help to address environmental degradation.

Source: GNA

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