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Environmental Protection Agency queries 137 hospitality operatives

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The Brong Ahafo Regional office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since September,2011, issued 137 environmental compliance notices and directives to hospitality industry operatives in six municipal and district assemblies in the region.

The operatives comprised hotels, guest houses and budgets in Sunyani and Nkoranza Municipalities, Sunyani West, Tano South and North Districts and the Techiman Municipality.

Mrs. Philomena Boakye Appiah, Brong Ahafo Regional Director of the Agency, disclosed this at a Compliance and Enforcement Network (CEN) Committee meeting in Sunyani on Thursday.

The meeting aimed at strengthening stakeholder collaboration in the enforcement process through strategizing for effective compliance and enforcement to achieve greater adherence to environmental laws and regulations in the region.

She said 42 out of the 137 operatives had responded to either renew their expired permits or apply for it for the first time.

According to the Regional Director, in the energy industry, 314 Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) and Petrol/Diesel filling station operators had since May this year also been served with compliance notices and directives in the Region.

She stated that about 60 newly established companies among them that operated without licences had responded with a commitment to regularize their operations whilst about 150 companies operating but with expired permits had renewed them.

Mrs. Appiah expressed satisfaction that with the exception of few recalcitrant ones, the response generally by operators in the hospitality industry “is very encouraging”.

She explained that compliance with environmental laws in the region and the country in general “is very low”, saying that posed a great challenge to Regulatory Agencies including the EPA.

The Regional Director noted that compliance with the environmental laws, regulations and directives of the EPA by the operators “will cause them to observe sustainable environmental best management practices”.

Mrs. Appiah warned that all operators had up to the end of 2011 to ensure compliance because from January 2012, defaulters risked closure of their facilities and prosecution.

She emphasized that compliance and enforcement constituted “the foundation on which any serious strategy aimed at environmental protection and sustainability can be built”.

The Regional Director admitted that the Agency could not do it alone, hence “the Network whose functions are to undertake collaborative actions to ensure compliance and enforcement of decisions by the network and other regulatory bodies”.

The collaborative network is a means of securing maximum effect and optimal output in environmental protection, compliance and enforcement without which environmental requirements/management would not achieve the desired results, Mrs Appiah indicated.

Source: GNA

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