The problems of the environment pose a
great challenge to the developmental effort of the nation because many of
the economic activities both past and present have had adverse and damaging
impact on the environment.
The significance of the environment and the resources cannot be downplayed since it is the pivot around which all food, clothing, shelter and general well-being revolve.
Mr George Mireku Duker, Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Chief Executive, said
this at a durbar to culminate the celebration of World Environment Day at Tarkwa on Friday.
It was under the theme: " Plant a Tree, Reduce Global Warming".
Mr. Duker said: "Air pollution from industries and car emissions, land degradation and loss of biological diversity from forest degradation, mining activities, farming and logging, and water pollution from improper waste disposal and improper land use are few of the numerous problems that we continue to create with impunity in the country as a whole and the Municipality in particular".
He said it was in recognition of this environmental mismanagement that the international community advocates for the concept of sustainable development as the new way nations and societies should be developed.
Mr. Duker said the concept refers to the necessity to meet people's needs and aspirations now and for the future, while at the same time maintaining the capacity of the environment to provide goods and services to humankind.
He expressed happiness observe that some level of awareness about the environment was catching up with society, hence the formation of both Environmental Clubs and Wildlife Clubs in some of the first and second cycle schools.
Mr Duker used the forum to appeal to other character moulding institutions like schools, religious bodies and youth organisations to consider making environmental awareness an integral part of their curriculum and activities, saying, "it will compliment the efforts of agencies responsible for environmental protection and management".
He said it was significant to state that the major responsibility lies on the individuals and called for the use of the traditional approach to solving problems on the environment.
By this approach, The MCE said environmental concerns which are addressed as “add-ons” to development and policy making need to be replaced by one in which the cost of environmental and social damages are assessed and firmly established in the decision making-process right from the beginning of any human endeavour.
He said the Government and the Municipal Assembly will continue to offer the needed assistance in ensuring that, poor environmental practices became a thing of the past.
To this end, Mr Duker said Government through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other stakeholders has put in place appropriate policies to regulate the use of the environment.
Environmental Assessment Regulations LI 1652 (1999) for undertakings; both new and existing projects as a way of mitigating the negative environmental impact of developmental projects,
The Environmental Performance Rating and Public Disclosure for the Mining and the Manufacturing Sectors called “AKOBEN”.
The reclamation security bond, where mining companies post a percentage of their reclamation liabilities in cash and other financial liabilities to secure against unplanned closure were some of the measures.
He said the theme: for this year's celebration was indeed a fitting one and therefore urged all and sundry to reflect soberly on it in view of the devastating effects of climate change.
Mr. Duker said the devastating effect of the recent floods that hit the northern part of the country and other parts of the world are a clear manifestation of the deterioration of the physical environment.
To reverse this trend, Mr. Duker said, it would require the active participation of all Ghanaians particularly at grassroots using Unit Committees, Area Councils and the Municipal Environmental Management Committee as well as NGO's whose activities are directed towards the environment.
"Let us not forget that, we shall have nowhere to go after we have destroyed this earth for, when the last tree dies, the last man dies". He added.
Mr. Michael Sandow Ali, Tarkwa- Nsuaem Municipal Programme officer, Environmenal Protection Agency (EPA) said whether one believes in the theory of creation or evolution, the earth came into being some billions of years ago, but then the ancestors would not recognise it if they were to see it now.
Mr Sandow Ali said since the middle of the last century alone, the world has lost nearly a fifth of its tropical rainforest, a fifth of the topsoil from its croplands, tens of thousands of its animal species.
He said human activities had increased carbon dioxide levels to the point where the climate of the world is affected, the protective ozone layer was being depleted and water bodies were being polluted and poorly managed.
Mr. Sandow Ali said if all these had happened just over half a century, then one would not be far from right to say that humans have embarked upon a journey which will eventually lead to destruction.
Mr Sandow Ali said unbelievably, today the world can only boast of a forest area of 1.8 million hectares compared to 8.2 million hectares at the beginning of the last century.
He said tropical rainforests played a crucial role on the global climate in helping to prevent global warming by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while the rainforests hold the key to curing diseases.
He said environmental protection and management should be looked at from the perspective of habit formation, and attitudinal change, saying, "as we mark this year's World Environment Day we need to think of the interrelationships between our actions and its effects on climate change".
The other activities were tree planting, quiz competition on the environment for Senior High School students.