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02.05.2005 Regional News

Security agencies urged to arrest people destroying the environment

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Buipe, (N/R), May 2, GNA - Mr Boniface Abubakar Saddique, Northern Regional Minister, has appealed to the security agencies to effect the arrest of people found to be destroying the environment for their selfish gains.

He warned that Government would not sit idle and allow few individuals to destroy the environment and cause perpetual hunger and health hazards to the people.

Mr Saddique who made the appeal in a speech read on his behalf at a meeting of members of the "Nensom Black Volta Fishing Association" (NBVFA) at Buipe in the Central Gonja District. The Association has been monitoring fishing methods and practices on the Volta Lake to check the use of harrow nets, chemicals and other unacceptable methods fishing.

Members of the District Assembly, representatives of the Regional Coordinating Council, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chiefs, law enforcement agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGO's), fishermen, fishmongers and other stakeholders in health and environmental issues attended the forum.

Mr Saddique said the maintenance of the ecosystem was critical for the survival of mankind. "We should remember that we are neither the first nor the last generation of human beings and that if the same greed had been exhibited by earlier generations we would have had nothing to live on today," he said.

The Regional Minister said: "The struggle for survival should not pitch us against one another. There is enough for all of us if only we would eschew greed and selfishness and use scarce resources judiciously".

Mr Saddique commended Canada for supporting NBVFA financially and technically through the Northern Empowerment Association (NEA) an NGO. He noted that one of the major problems facing the region was the destruction of the vegetation, especially the wanton felling of trees for charcoal production.

He said the practice had contributed immensely to dwindling crop yield and the drying up of water bodies in the area and called for sectoral approach to reverse the situation. The Regional Minister said Government had committed 50 million cedis as credit facility to the youth whose livelihood depended on charcoal burning and other environmental-related jobs to seek other employment avenues.

Nana Dr David Mensah, Director of NEA who is the brainchild of the NBVFA said the Association had trained 300 environmental monitors to carry out public education on the negative effects of improper fishing methods on the environment.

Mr John Bosco Sumani, Assistant Programme Officer of the EPA said the poisoning of water sources with chemicals for fishing led to impotency, sterility and reduction of life expectancy.

Mr E.O. Brakatu, Regional Police Commander, said it was an offence for anybody to engage the services of children under 15 at night or on hazardous employment.

Mr Brakatu said it was an offence for fishermen not to report the drowning of people and other accidents related to their job to the Police for investigations.

He also warned them against the use of explosives in fishing. The Buipe-Wura, Chin Chanko Toti Saaka II, appealed to the Government and NGOs to give an alternative means of livelihood to the people to break their over dependence the environment. 02 May 05

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