The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr. Mahama Ayariga has proposed the establishment of an environment police team to address environmental issues in the country.
This is aimed at improving the insanitary conditions, environmental degradation, depletion of the forest and the pollution of the river bodies, which poses a threat to human lives and properties.
Mr Ayariga said when the team starts operating after approval by cabinet, offenders would be prosecuted in courts and the fines imposed on them used judiciously to benefit the state.
The Minister announced this in Prestea when he paid a working visit to the Golden Star Resources Bogoso/Prestea Limited, a mining firm in the Western region.
He was accompanied by the Head of Mining Department at EPA, Mr. Michael Ali Sandow, Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni/Valley constituency, Mr. Francis Adu-Baly Koffie, District Chief Executive, Mr. Robert Wisdom Cudjoe and some officials of the mining company.
The group, which was led by the Underground Mine Manager, Mr. Samuel Agyeman, visited the company’s winder house, workshop center, an oil palm plantation, Tuapim pit, the Fat hill and Mackenzie pits, which have been reclaimed and their water treated.
He noted that, even though the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act clearly mandates the Ministry to recruit enforcement officers to the fields to work, this has not been effective.
His outfit has therefore decided to set up the team to strengthen the enforcement unit of the EPA and also help in working effectively to protect Ghanaians from inhaling bad odours.
He said it would be inappropriate for patriotic citizens to pay for the mess that recalcitrant ones create in the environment.
At the Tuapim pit, the Minister chanced on some people operating illegally on the company’s concessions and asked the company to use the appropriate channel to punish them.
He urged management of the company to offer alternative livelihoods for the illegal miners to enable them to cater for their families and reduce the unemployment situation.
Explaining further on the Tuapim project, the Community Relations and Social Responsibility Manager, Mr. Robert Gyamfi told the Ghana News Agency that the company obtained permit from the EPA to work on the concession on June 12, 2015.