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University of Ghana to undertake study on mined lands

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The Faculty of Science, University of Ghana, is undertaking a study into turning degraded and bare lands left unused after mining into productive use.

This was announced by Professor Ebenezer O. Owusu, Vice Dean of the Faculty in Accra, on Monday.

He was speaking to the Ghana News Agency, after the opening session of a month’s training on environmental and social impacts of extractive industries, for 22 participants from the Duquesne University of the United States of America (USA).

The training is part of the Emerging Leadership Training Programme (LEEP), an exchange programme between the University of Ghana and University of Duquesne.

It is being organised by the Department of Science, Oceanography and Fisheries of the Faculty of Science of the University of Ghana, with funds from the State Department of the United States of America.

The training, on the theme “Emerging Young Professionals: Environmental Issues in Ghana and United States of America”, is the second component of the project, with Duquesne hosting the first component in May last year, in Pittsburgh, USA, where a Ghanaian delegation understudied the country’s extractive industries.

The participants will study the extractive industries in Ghana; develop policy briefs, make management recommendations and be exposed to the cultural and social set ups in Ghana.

Prof. Owusu noted that the aftermath of mining in Ghana had been disastrous, that lands were left bare and unproductive, after mining and “these lands could be used for something productive instead of being left there serving as death traps to affected communities.”

He explained that the study underway had shown that such mined lands could be used for aqua-culture and the cultivation of oil palm, while the dangerous chemicals used for the mining could be detoxified from the land to prevent any contamination to the fishes and the palm fruits.

Prof. Owusu urged the participants to develop policy briefs that would ensure that degraded lands were cultivated into productive use for the benefit of the affected communities.

Dr Francis Nunoo, Head of the Oceanography and Fisheries Department, Faculty of Science, University of Ghana said, the training programme in Ghana was crucial, at a time when Ghana was extracting oil offshore, and must ensure that her extraction was handled in a manner that would benefit the nation and not harm the environment or have other unforeseen negative societal impacts.

He noted that the exploitation and management of natural resources in Ghana were tightly integrated into cultural, social and economic lives of the people.

The participants would be visiting the oil and gas, mining, forestry, fisheries, energy, and water industries to learn and make some management recommendations.

Professor Naa Aykaiey Adamafio, Dean of International Programmes, University of Ghana, commended the Faculty of Science for the partnership programme with the USA and urged the two institutions to deepen their partnership and ensure its continuity.

Dr Stan Kabala, Associate Director of Centre for Environment and Research and Education, commended the University of Ghana for the warm reception and pledged to ensure that participants brought to bear their numerous experiences and make an impact to Ghana’s extractive industries.

The participants will take time off to visit some of Ghana’s tourist sites.

Source: GNA

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