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30.03.2007 General News

EPA Accused Of Condoning Degradation

By David Yarboi Tetteh, Elmina
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George Frank Asmah, Chief Executive of the Komenda Edina Eguafo-Abirem district, has expressed concern about the issuing of permits by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to individuals and organisations to win sand at Elmina.

It is encouraging the degradation of the environment he says. Sand-winning activities along the coastline, in addition to the defecation at the beaches, he noted have been serious worry to the administration, and described the practice as 'totally unacceptable.'

Mr Asmah expressed his concerns at the first ordinary meeting of the assembly here on Tuesday. Efforts by the assembly to get the EPA to discuss the matter, have failed, he said, adding that the present state of the beaches 'leaves much to be desired.'

He therefore called for a pragmatic and collective decision on sand-winning in the district and hinted that the assembly is liaising with the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment to that effect.

When contacted, the acting Regional Director of the EPA, Francis Zakari, told journalists that the agency only granted the Ameen Sangari company a permit to win a small quantity of sand for the renovation of its premises which the agency had asked it to do.

The EPA, he said, however supervised the sand winning process by the company without compromising on environmental standards.

Mr Zakari said it is better to allow sand-winning in areas that the activity has not been banned to safeguard the already secured places until the agency and local authorities are ready to ban it in such areas.

As to efforts by the district assembly to get his outfit, to discuss the issue, he said, he was at the assembly, on the appointed meeting day but did not see the DCE as he was said to be away.

'I left a note requesting the rescheduling of the meeting but I have not had any response since,' he said.