The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is poised to engage in rigorous stakeholder engagement to whip up support in implementing environmental regulations and laws to safeguard the environment in 2021, Dr Henry Kokofu, the Executive Director, EPA has said.
“People are still living in an era where they believe that natural resources are there forever. They simply refuse to understand that degradation has set in and that we risk our very lives as human beings if we continue to treat the environment that way”.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra on Monday, Dr Kokofu said there had been a seemingly unyielding challenge of people who were unaware of the environmental laws and so they continued to abuse them with careless abandon.
He said that was why the EPA had set it upon itself to tackle education and awareness of the populace on the environmental laws this year.
Dr. Kokofu said the Agency would through the engagement reach out to the populace with a more comprehensive agenda to get people to understand the need to protect the environment.
He said with the EPA currently having offices in all 16 regions, with its additional 250 new officers, and 20 vehicles supplied to the Agency last year by the government, the Agency was well positioned to carry out its mandate properly.
Dr Kokofu said though, people would deliberately and consciously flout the laws, the Agency would be resolute in tackling the issues, after it had engaged major stakeholders, including its clients and the media.
He admitted that the COVID-19 had negatively impacted on operations of the EPA with most of its clients folding up operations and, therefore, could not renew their permits, which affected the internally generated funds-the main source of income for the Agency’s operations.
The Executive Director said it would be difficult for Ghana to mobilise the 22.6 billion dollar estimated fund from both local and international sources to implement its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
The NDCs are earmarked strategies by countries to help in adapting to the impact of climate change.
Ghana is expected to mobilise about 6.3 billion dollars from local sources, while the rest are to be sourced from international sources.
Dr Kokofu, said the EPA, engendered a dialogue in September last year, which kicked-started the revision process of the NDCs, adding that it would be intensified this year, to ensure that the NDCs and their estimated budget were implemented.
He said various aspects of the NDCs particularly, the energy, gender and other areas of interest were being renegotiated to make them more implementable.