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21.03.2006 Business & Finance

Ministry to involve children in environmental protection


Accra, March 21, GNA - The Ministry of Environment and Science would this year launch and implement the "Child and Environment Programme" to assist children acquire basic understanding of the environment to enable them to contribute to its preservation. The programme, aimed at intensifying public education and awareness creation and assist children to develop concern for the environment by developing positive attitudes towards it.

Ms Christine Churcher, Minister of Environment and Science, who announced this on Tuesday in Accra at the weekly meet-the-press series explained that by involving children in such a programme, they would be used as agents of change in attaining a habitable environment "for all of us".

Expressing much concern about the way the environment was being degraded, Ms Churcher said it would take the collective efforts of all Ghanaians to be able to reverse or mend the situation. She, therefore, appealed to the entire population to show an awareness of the importance of their living conditions and the environment- "that way we shall together build a healthy environment for our collective survival".

Among departments and agencies under the Ministry are, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), Town and Country Planning Department (TCPD) and Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Ms Churcher said the Ministry had put in place targeted programmes to enhance the enforcement of environmental legislation, the application of research, science and technology focused on keeping Ghana environmentally healthy and economically vibrant. She mentioned such programmes as the harmonisation of environmental legislation and institutional framework to address the challenge of enforcing environmental laws and regulations and the promotion of biotechnology to attain food and health security, industrial development and economic growth.

Others include the establishment of science and technology fund for research and development and the institution of programmes of recognition and incentives comprising an annual award for deserving scientists, inventors and environmentalists in addition to the existing award scheme for Journalists.

On air pollution, Ms Churcher said the Ministry through the EPA would intensify its activities in air quality monitoring to check the levels of emission of carbon dioxide and other gasses and pollutants in the air as well as collect enough data to assist to develop vehicular emissions standard for the country.

She said an enhanced TCPD would institute measures to improve and extend planning services to all the 138 District Assemblies especially, the newly created ones and in addition, regional mobile planning teams would be established to ensure that the new district capitals were covered with planning schemes for their proper growth and development. The Minister said plans were well ahead to establish a school of Nuclear and Allied Science at GAEC to train nuclear scientists for Sub-Saharan Africa, adding that support was being received from the Ghana Trust Fund and International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC).