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Town and Country Planning works to reduce traffic in Accra

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TrafficThe Town and Country Planning is collaborating with the Department of Urban Roads to plan and demarcate a 94-kilometre outer ring road for the Accra Metropolis to help ease traffic in the city.

This would also ensure that traffic is properly routed from the city centre as work is currently ongoing to acquire the proposed road reservation for future development, Mr Mahama Ayariga, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation announced in Accra on Tuesday.

Addressing the media at the meet-the-press series in Accra, Mr Ayariga said the Department was also spearheading an initiative to introduce permitting reforms aimed at reducing the turnaround time for permits from 90 to 30 working days, adding that a development permit business processes manual was expected to be developed in aid of the initiative by the end of the year.

The Minister said the two initiatives fell under the National Land Spatial Development Framework, which also entails work on the Land Use and Spatial Planning Bill, which had been finalized and submitted to Cabinet for onward submission to Parliament for further consideration and passage by close of the year.

On biogas technology, Mr Ayariga said the Ministry, through the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has developed a strategy for the diffusion of biotechnology in the construction of bio toilets with the ultimate purpose of generating gas for domestic and commercial purposes to ease the pressure on the national electricity grid.

He explained that currently the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Institute of Industrial Research (IIR) of the CSIR was piloting the construction of biogas toilets in 30 Senior High Schools (SHS) in Greater Accra which would be scaled up to cover 550 SHS all over the country by the end of 2016.

Other public institutions like the polytechnics and hospitals would be gradually added to the programme.

Mr Ayariga said in order to increase the shelf-life of farm produce for exports; the Ministry through the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), under the Technology Transfer and Marketing Centre was collaborating with the Ministry of Trade to have products and goods irradiated through the use of gamma irradiation to improve trade in Ghana.

Under technology development, the Minister announced that a pilot project had been initiated to establish technology development/innovation/marketing centres in five research institutions namely; the University of Ghana, GAEC, CSIR, Kumasi Polytechnic and the Ghana Technology University College.

He said these institutions had been given funds of $500,000 each and other grants to enable researchers to further develop their innovations for the markets while the private sector was being supported to partner the institutions.

On challenges being faced by the Ministry, Mr Ayariga mentioned that limited staff strength and logistics coupled with inadequate funding was hampering the enforcement of sanitation laws as well as efficient management of the environment.

He said the Ministry was taking measures to address the environmental issues through the enforcement of environmental regulations, guidelines and standards by recruiting more than 2,000 enforcement officers to help in enforcing the environmental laws in the country.

On the way forward, Mr Ayariga said the Ministry would continue to implement environmental management programmes and projects across all sectors to enhance economic development, while formulating and pursuing policies to deepen environmental management and enforcement.

Source: GNA

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