Parliament blames mining infractions on weak compliance with environmental laws
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Dr Emmanuel Marfo, has attributed the many infractions of regulations in the mining sector to weak compliance with environmental standards.
He noted that one key deficiency in public sector management was the lack of coordination and collaborations between state agencies mandated to execute policies, programmes and laws for the welfare of society.
Dr Marfo said this when he, with other committee members, visited the Anto Aboso quarry explosion site in the Western Region to have first-hand information on last Saturday’s explosion, which claimed five lives and injured many others.
“We have been in the region for the past one week and we realise how illegal activities are gradually becoming pervasive in our society….,” he said.
“Look at how illegal miners are digging and leaving open trenches all over without any reclamation plan and we come here to also learn that a company is operating and storing hazardous chemicals in a place that is not permitted for such chemicals.”
“It is even surprising to learn that there is no known EPA official in the Shama District…so how do you monitor environmental activities here?”
Dr Marfo said the lack of compliance with environmental laws were causing grave damages to the environment with its associated health and economic challenges.
“We are seeing non-compliance throughout our rounds… institutions created by laws seemed not to be working…”.
He said the Committee was inviting the DCE, Assembly Member and the MP to Parliament to help members understand what actually happened at the explosion site and whether the laws need reforms to make them effective.
“Or the people responsible are sleeping on what they are supposed to be doing as public officers?,” the Chairman asked.
Earlier, Mr Erickson Abakah, the MP for Shama, Mr Ebenezer Dadzie, the Shama District Chief Executive, and Mr. Owu-Ewie, the Assembly Member of Anto Aboso Electoral Area, led reporters to a site where quantities of Ammonium had been dumped in a bush near a mining enclave.
The Anto Aboso area plays host to about eight quarries and raises the concern for proper environmental management practices to safeguard lives and property.
Last Saturday’s explosion claimed the lives of five persons, with three still missing and four hospitalized.
Since the incident, some 15 policemen had been commissioned to man the site to avoid intrusion by community members.