Ophelia Mensah Hayford (2nd from right), Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Dr John Kingsley Krugu (left), acting Executive Director of EPA; Prof. Kwasi Appeaning Addo (2nd from left), Board Chairman, EPA, and Henry K. Kokofu (right), former Executive Director of EPA, cutting the EPA 50th anniversary cake during the ceremony. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY
Ophelia Mensah Hayford (2nd from right), Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation; Dr John Kingsley Krugu (left), acting Executive Director of EPA; Prof. Kwasi Appeaning Addo (2nd from left), Board Chairman, EPA, and Henry K. Kokofu (right), former Executive Director of EPA, cutting the EPA 50th anniversary cake during the ceremony. Picture: EDNA SALVO-KOTEY

EPA celebrates 50 years - Pledges technology deployment to tackle emerging environmental challenges

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched its 50th anniversary with a renewed commitment to build on its past achievements by embracing innovative technologies and integrated solutions to tackle emerging environmental challenges.

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In that regard, the agency pledged to deploy technologies such as drones and Global Positioning System (GPS) tools, including satellites, to tackle local and global environmental challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and all forms of environmental pollution.

The acting Executive Director of the EPA, Dr John Kingsley Krugu, made the commitment on behalf of the EPA in Accra yesterday. The anniversary was on the theme: “50 Years of Environmental Protection: Achievements, challenges and the future".

Public awareness

Dr Krugu further explained that because of numerous challenges facing the country's environment, the agency under the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) would pursue public awareness campaigns, educational programmes and local initiatives to drive meaningful change and foster a culture of environmental stewardship at the grass-roots level.

“We shall relentlessly enforce environmental regulations and ensure total compliance with standards and guidelines on environmental management and conservation as we celebrate our golden jubilee,” he stressed.

Dr Krugu said notwithstanding the achievements, rapid urbanisation and industrial development leading to pollution of air, water and land, inefficient waste management, including plastic waste, among others, persisted; making it imperative for the EPA to continue to address these issues with urgency to find sustainable solutions to them.

 “As we celebrate our golden jubilee, let us be proud of what we have achieved while taking cognisance of emerging complex environmental challenges. Environmental protection is a collective responsibility and as we move forward we call on all Ghanaians to join us in this noble cause,” he said.
 

Achievements 

Touching on some of the achievements chalked up by the EPA, Dr Krugu said the agency had shaped key policies on climate change, plastic pollution, hazardous waste and pioneered transformational initiatives such as the setting up of the Ghana National Cleaner Production Centre at Tema.

He further revealed that the EPA had also established regional and area offices to strengthen environmental management at the local level as well as published a reference book on the development of the Environmental Education for Basic School Teachers.

Other achievements, the acting executive director indicated, included the development of the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan, the implementation of the Aquapen Programme, the establishment of the EcoLevy Fund, development of carbon market structures, preparation of the first-ever State of Marine Report, the enactment of the Environmental Protection Bill which is currently before Parliament, and the National Action Plan to combat desertification and drought, among others. 

Challenges

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ophelia Mensah Hayford,  said although there had been many interventions by the EPA over the past 50 years, the nation was still confronted with “complex environmental challenges relating to illegal mining and logging, waste management, particularly plastic waste, deforestation, water, air and noise pollution, among others.”

She said the Global Forest Watch in 2023 estimated that Ghana had lost 110,000 hectares of natural forest.

“The country is endowed with the Volta River, the South-Western River system and the Coastal River system. Annual total runoff from these three river bodies is estimated at 40 billion cubic metres out of about 53 billion cubic metres of renewable fresh water resources which should have been enough for the country’s needs.”  the minister stated.
 

Assurance 

Ms Hayford said one of her key priorities since she assumed office was to ensure that the Environmental Protection Authority Bill was passed into law to facilitate the effective implementation of environmental policies and programmes.

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