Akosombo (E/R), June 10, GNA - Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, Minister-designate of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, on Saturday called for a review of the sanitation and environment laws to make them enforceable.
He said because most of the laws were still in the ordinance form, from the colonial era, they were non-enforceable.
"Who is spending shillings and pounds now in Ghana to be fined in such currencies?" he queried, saying the ordinances needed to be reviewed into a comprehensive law. Mr. Asamoah Boateng was speaking at t he opening of a three-day retreat to upgrade the Environmental Health and Sanitation Unit into a Directorate within the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment (MLGRDE).
The retreat, which has about 60 participants from MLGRDE, Parliamentary Select Committees, Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Health and some development partners, among other organisations, is under the theme: "Creating a Visible Home for Environmental Sanitation - Establishing the EHSD in MLGRDE." Mr. Asamoah Boateng said since the transfer of Environmental Health Officers from the Ministry of Health to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in 1995, the Environmental Health Officers had been under-utilised.
He said, the Unit should not be allowed to continue to be redundant when environmental sanitation was now a big issue. "A Directorate would stand out clearly and attract the attention of our development partners, who would have more confidence in the environmental sanitation sub-sector and, therefore, pool their resources to support it.
"The filth in our cities and towns is engulfing us and we need to sit up and act now".
Mr. Asamoah Boateng said any attempt to downplay environmental sanitation would result in increased incidence of diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea, typhoid and other common ailments associated with poor sanitation.
He reiterated that these diseases were preventable if only proper environmental sanitation were observed. Mr. Asamoah Boateng said the two important activities of all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies were sustaining environmental cleanliness and improving internally generated revenues. He said, he was determined to invoke section 42 and 43 of the Local Government Act that allowed a taskforce to take over the role of any assembly if it failed to discharge its duties in some specific duties. "If the District Assemblies continue to fail in the discharge of their duties, I will send a taskforce which will do the work at the expense of the assembly," he said.
He said Assemblies that performed creditably would be rewarded or given incentives.
Mr. Asamoah Boateng said the issue of turning waste to energy was being considered seriously by the Ministry.