Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu - Executive Director of the EPA
Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu - Executive Director of the EPA

EPA cautions against developing wetlands :... As nation marks Biosphere Reserve Day

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has held the 3rd National Forum on Biosphere Reserves and Sustainable Development in Cape Coast, warning the public against indiscriminate development and settlement on wetlands.

The occasion was also used to mark the maiden celebration of the International Biosphere Reserve Day, which was dubbed: “Biosphere Reserves and Ecosystem Restoration — Blue Economy to the Rescue”.


The celebration served as an outreach to raise awareness of activities relating to biodiversity, nature wildlife and sustainable development.

It was also to send messages to Ghanaians, particularly the youth, currently involved in activities harming the environment and the planet.

The Executive Director of the EPA, Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, indicated that undertaking physical development on wetlands was suicidal.

He observed that many people considered wetlands to be “waste lands” and, therefore, an opportunity for all forms of development there, including building homes and business centres.

“It is unfortunate; some people think wetlands are waste lands,” he stated.

He, however, explained that wetlands were a critical part of the ecosystem which sustained the integrity of the environment, serving as a shelter for some important animals and also mitigating floods.

Ocean crucial

Dr Kokofu indicated that the protection of water bodies, coastal lines and mangroves was paramount to safeguarding the environment.

He stressed the importance of the ocean to human existence, saying a huge percentage of oxygen to humans came from the ocean.

He, however, observed that climate change, coupled with human activities like overfishing, sand winning and reclamation of wetlands, had resulted in deterioration of the ocean and similar resources.

Dr Kokofu urged stakeholders to renew their commitment to help Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals through partnerships as part of a renewed commitment to protect the environment and ensuring a safer country.

MESTI’s commitment

In a speech read on his behalf, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr Kweku Afriyie, said his outfit was poised to inspire a national effort targeted at reinforcing care for the environment.

He said the MESTI was committed to supporting actions, practices and systems of production and consumption that balanced human activities with the natural resources.

He reiterated government’s commitment to embark on initiatives and actions at all levels to restore the country’s ecosystem that had been battered, particularly by illegal mining.


The Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, in a speech read on her behalf, added that biosphere reserves around the world sheltered some 276 million people.

She said biosphere reserves played a crucial role in the life of all humanity, and justified why UNESCO instituted the International Day for Biosphere Reserves.

The Paramount Chief of the Oguaa Traditional Area, Osabarima Kwesi Atta II, said the coast and related natural resources served as a source of fish transport and tourist attraction.

He, however, observed that the ocean had been destroyed through various human activities, visiting hardships on the coastal communities.

He, therefore, appealed to the public to make conscious and deliberate efforts to conserve their natural environments, including resources, to guarantee their safety and improved living conditions.

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