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06.06.2005 General News

VEEP calls for urgent amendment of Cap 84

GNA

Ho, June 6, GNA - Vice-President Aliu Mahama on Monday called for an urgent amendment to the Town and Country Planning Ordinance 1945 (Cap 84) to bring it up to the challenges "in today's urban development realities".

"It is clear that there are many challenging tasks ahead to address in resolving the current environmental issues in our cities and towns", he said.

Vice-President Mahama was delivering the keynote address at a durbar in Ho to mark World Environment Day.

The global and national themes respectively for the day were, "Green Cities: Plan for the Planet", and "Green Communities: Healthy People".

Vice-President Mahama called for a change to the present strategies for "long-term multi-pronged and holistic planning approach" to the country's Town, Urban and City Planning.

This, he said called for total support from all segments of society including the private sector to marshal the necessary financial and technical assistance to promote environmentally sound strategies and strengthen relevant environmental agencies in the country. "The cost of inaction in addressing urban issues is just too high to ignore", he warned.

"We can be agents of positive action, while making clear the risks of business as usual. We can be catalysts for partnerships, while recognizing the challenges of forging consensus ", Vice-President Mahama observed.

The urban and city related environmental problems catalogued by the Vice-President included shortage of housing stocks, a 4.5 per cent rate of urbanization, less than 40 per cent of city dwellers have access to solid waste collection services and less than 30 per cent have acceptable household toilet facilities.

Vice-President Mahama, however, observed that city authorities were becoming increasingly aware of the positive and proactive roles that they would have to play in resolving the dilemma. "There is indeed evidence of genuine urban renaissance", he observed.

The Minister for Environment and Science, Miss Christine Churcher, bemoaned the reckless abandon with which private houses, mansions and churches were being constructed in the country with the consequent widespread encroachment on the property of public institutions such as schools, hospitals, markets, parks, recreational centres and waterways. "Indeed the total chaos that seems to characterise human settlement planning in Ghana, bears ample testimony to and reinforces the reality that the law and the structures it gave birth to have become desolate", Miss Churcher emphasized.

To stem the danger of over exploitation of environmental resources in rural areas, Miss Churcher said the Ministry had instituted the "Rural Enterprise Resource Management Programme" to extend financial support and entrepreneurial services and skills to rural dwellers. In a statement Mr Jonathan Adotey Allotey, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said apart from the plastic waste menace, noise pollution and vehicle emissions constituted very serious urban environmental problems in the country.

He said between 1999 and 2000, the EPA received 78 complaints on noise nuisance from churches, block-moulding factories, generators, drinking bars, fitting/mechanic shops, nightclubs, music and cassette shops and milling machines.

Mr Allotey said of the sources of noise pollution, churches/mosques account for 33.8 per cent, block moulding factories 14.3 per cent, generators 7.8 per cent, music and cassette shops 7.7 per cent, clubhouses 3.9 per cent, milling machines 3.9 per cent and drinking bars 3.9 per cent.

On pollution from vehicle emissions Mr Allotey said: "Results from the Agency's ambient air quality monitoring programme and Roadside Air Quality Project revealed that roadside and commercial areas in Accra have high levels of 'particulate matter' which is likely to affect human health".

He cautioned that people, who reside along major traffic routes were at risk of lead contaminated foods and air pollution. 6 June, 05

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