The Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) and 24 other companies and institutions received awards at the maiden edition of the Ghana Green Awards and Expo (GGAE) which was held in Accra last Friday.
The award scheme is an initiative to encourage environmentally sustainable activities at corporate, enterprise, community and individual levels and is targeted at enhancing efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.
It was organised by RicsConsult Limited, an events architecture, planning, marketing and management and sports business consultant, with collaboration from the Energy Commission, Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other stakeholders.
At the ceremony, the Omanhen of the Essikado Traditional Area and Patron of the GGAE, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, observed that the issue of environmental sustainability ought to be a national development priority issue, and that it took collaborative efforts to save the environment from degradation.
He called on the EPA and other bodies concerned with the enforcement of laws to protect the environment to implement robust sanction regimes to deter people from deforestation, illegal mining and pollution of water bodies.
“I cannot understand why we take our environment for granted. We live to know that our environment is us, so when we destroy it, we are killing ourselves and other generations as well,” he said.
Nana Nketsia called on the public to adopt the national rooftop solar panel programme by the Energy Commission, saying that the initiative is an innovative way by which the energy from the sun could be put to better use.
“It is mind-boggling that we have allowed the sun’s energy to go waste. This progressive initiative to use solar panel will not only take some people off the national grid to minimise the pressure, but will be a viable solution to the current energy deficiency and move us towards energy security,” he added.
For his part, the Head of the GGAE team, Professor Timothy Archibold Coleman, observed that global warming was a direct result of environmental degradation and that unless some drastic measures were taken to enhance proper conservation methods, human lives would be in danger.
He said the rising sea levels, diminishing water bodies and tidal waves were phenomena that ought to be reversed through afforestation and reafforestation, use of renewable energy sources and other innovative mechanisms.
“Businesses should begin to see the challenges in environmental sustainability as an opportunity to invest in innovative ventures, which will, in the long run, have a positive impact on environmental sustainability,” he said.
A legal practitioner, Mr Bright Akwettey, called on traditional rulers who superintended the unlawful sale of land to foreign companies for purposes of illegal mining to desist from that practice.
He said that practice deprived host communities of access to quality water and affected food security.
Mr Akwettey urged the public to adopt good waste management practices and stop littering the environment, adding that proper recycling technologies ought to be adopted to protect the environment.