Business News of 2014-04-09

EPA to take reclamation bonds from miners

The Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take reclamation bonds from all companies involved in small, medium or large scale mining activities that required environmental clearances or renewals.

That, the Ministry said, would ensure that mining activities did not adversely affect the environment, as the bonds would generate enough financial resources to reclaim the land and water bodies polluted through mining activities.

Dr Bernice Adiku Heloo, Deputy Minister for MESTI, who announced this at a day’s workshop on Environmental Education Strategy Review Conference, said presently, only large scale mining companies put down reclamation bonds.

The workshop was organized by the EPA for stakeholders to review the old environmental education strategy and develop a new one for the country.

The Deputy Minister said the workshop came at the right time as the citizens needed to be educated on best practices to promote sustainability for the present and future.

Dr Heloo announced that cabinet approved a new Ghana Environment policy in 2013, to address the challenges as well as manage effectively the environmental concerns of the country.

“The new policy is hinged on integrated and holistic environmental management practices and processes over the next 10 years. In this regard government has committed itself, among others, to utilize all available resources in the most effective way to achieve the aims of the policy.

“…. and promote the integration and coordination of its approach to environmental management among the Ministries, Departments and Agencies to facilitate the enforcement of people’s environmental rights,” she added.

Dr Heloo noted that the Ministry believed that the new vision for environmental management was to manage the environment’s sustainability together with society.

She said that new paradigm of sustainable development, based on integrated and coordinated environmental management would improve quality of life of the citizenry; equal access to land and other natural resources.

“It will also improve more efficient use of social, cultural resources; and adequate public participation in environmental governance,” she said.

Professor Jane Naana Opoku Agyeman, Minister of Education, in a speech read on her behalf, said children were more receptive to change and were more likely to acquire the skills for environmental management and develop a deep and lasting concern for the natural environment than adults.

She said children all over the world were highly vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation; therefore, involving them in environmental management through environmental education in schools would safeguard the future sustainability of any actions taken to improve the environment.

“We will, therefore, continue to offer our children access to quality education beyond the primary level. We therefore resolve to improve the capacity of our education systems to prepare people to pursue environmental sustainable development, including the development of curricula around environmental sustainability,” she added.

Mr Daniel Amlalo, Executive Director of EPA, said environmental education was evolving, as new environmental challenges were emerging, and stressed the need to keep abreast with contemporary issues and provide better solutions to them.

He said the workshop was very crucial as it would help the Agency to collate ideas and information from diverse backgrounds to produce a revised Environmental Education Strategy for the country.

He, therefore, tasked the participants to identify a new content of the strategy document, its strengths and weaknesses and mechanism so that all stakeholders could keep track and monitor the implementation.