The European Union through its Accountability, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP) has donated 11 drones and its accessories to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to aid in its work.
The drones were presented to help the Graphic Information Systems Unit of the Agency beef up their Electronic Monitoring Systems, as they monitor illegal small-scale mining activities in the country.
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, who received the gadgets, said the activities of small-scale miners is destroying the country’s vegetation and farmland at a fast pace and efforts to monitor their operations was needed urgently.
He said the drones have come at the right time because small scale mining areas often covered a land space not less than 25 acres which could not be easily monitored by foot or vehicles.
He said the areas where these activities are being perpetrated were full of pits and if one was not familiar with the terrain could fall into such pits but with the help of drones those sites could be monitored from a bird’s eye view and large acres could be covered within a short time.
The Minister said climate change is fast catching up on the northern and southern sectors of the country and it is being aided by self-inflicted activities including illegal mining, illegal logging of timber and sand wing along the coast lines.
He said interventions such as this would empower the Agency and the Ministry to fight corrupt practices within the country which in long term affected the environment and livelihood of the citizenry.
He expressed gratitude to the EU and ARAP for their support and urged the EPA to use the equipment for its stated cause.
Madam Diana Acconcia, Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana, said the EPA was one of the most committed stakeholders working with ARAP in three critical areas which included compliance monitoring in the small scale mining sector, compliant management and was hopeful to add prosecution of environmental crimes in the near future.
She said technology is needed to fight corruption and to curb mismanagements and opportunities for corruption by ensuring that persons complied with the rule of law.
She commended the EPA staff and the ARAP team who have worked untiringly to innovate the idea of a monitoring system to scout on illegal activities of small scale miners.
“I witnessed EPA’s work in Dunkwa as they rolled out how the monitoring system worked on the mining site, it remains a memorable time for me, she said.
Madam Ana Sanchez, ARAP Team Leader and Mr John Pwamang, Ag Executive Director, EPA both signed the handing over documents which covered the items donated on behalf of their respective institutions.