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06.01.2007 General News

'Enforce Law To Safeguard Environment'

By Francis Xah and Salifu Abdul-Rahaman
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Ghana's policies over the years have consistently demonstrated awareness and concern for the environment but this has not been backed by commitment to safeguard it, a, panelist of a symposium at the on-going new year school has observed.

Contributing to the topic 'Governance during the past five decades, views of the younger generation,' Mrs. Elizabeth Irene Baitie, a Biochemist and Head of Patholab Medical Laboratory, in Accra said, 'The challenges we face in the future involve implementing working solutions to our environmental problems that will not take us back developmentally.'
She said that if communities understand how certain practices impact negatively on them, and the benefits of exploring better alternatives, there will be improved support for tough conservation measures.

Mrs. Baitie suggested strict enforcement of laws that compel business to publish information as to the type and degree of pollution they produce. This will help raise public awareness of the effects of these products on the environment.

'Crippling with these challenges requires change, our biggest challenge, as we prepare to celebrate 50 years of independence', she added.

'We have the appropriate governing and regulatory bodies and there is impressive amount of legislation that governs and protects the environment,' she noted, and added that reading these regulatory measures, there is every reason for the country to have clean environment.
'In my opinion, the problem is inadequate enforcement, and a lack of total commitment by all parties concerned with the vision of a greener Ghana,' she said, adding that 'Singapore's single mindedness in pursuing the guest for a clean and organised country is a good illustration of total commitment.'
Mrs. Baitie noted that Ghanaians are not dirty people, pointing out that the practice of sweeping and cleaning homes in the morning is woven into the fabric of their culture.

'What we need to do is to increase awareness, and enforce disciplinary measures that will encourage us to maintain this inborn cleanliness,' she said.

Mrs. Baitie said it is disheartening to read that the aim of reintroducing sanitary inspectors is to help beautify the surroundings for the 50th anniversary.

'Greening and cleaning is marvelous but it should not be occasional, neither should it simply be maintained. It should be improved upon and that is where the challenge lies.

'This revival of sanitary inspections demonstrates that we have dropped standards for ourselves. Our children will lean that you only tidy up when a visitor comes to your home,' she said.

'With the levels of filth and chaos around us, the danger is that sensitivity levels for the younger generation are getting lower and lower. Children are growing up to dirt and rubbish.
'It is increasingly rare to see children picking rubbish by themselves,' she said.

She said tourism could serve as a tool for development and poverty attention, but asked; 'Is our environment enough to make us a serious player in the industry?'

In another contribution, Mr. Moses Baiden Jnr, Chief Executive, Margins Group noted that entrepreneurship and business development thrived on an open and dynamic market that is receptive to new ideas.

He said growth must also see the increase in strategic business units venturing into different types of businesses requiring different skills and competencies.

Mr. Baiden noted that explosive business growth must have some sort of government action to reduce domestic cost, adding that public sector growth is therefore needed to anchor for economic expansion and business growth.