World Environment Day: GhISEP suggests solutions to curb degradation
The Ghana Institute of Safety and Environmental Professionals (GhISEP), the sole professional body for safety, occupational health and environmental professionals and practitioners in Ghana, joins friends of the earth worldwide to observe the World Environment Day celebrated on June 5 under the auspices of the United Nations.
This year’s event also marks the first following the declaration of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration and is themed, ‘Time to re-imagine, recreate and restore.’
GhISEP finds the theme more appropriate given our attitude to some of these environmental related existential threats. Available data from Mongabay Conservation and Environmental Science News suggests that deforestation of Ghana’s forests has moved about 60 per cent between 2017 and 2018 – the biggest degradation of any tropical country. Sadly, most unwarranted destructions took place in the country’s protected areas, including its forest reserves.
Further, GhISEP is particularly worried at our collective attitude or failure at managing the practice of illegal mining and its resultant impact on the quality of life. Since the onset of small-scale mining or Galamsey in the late 1980s, successive governments have achieved less at attempts to manage the menace. Today, we feel the negative effect of illegal mining as water treatment plants shut down due to the uncontrollability of sediment into our water bodies. Apart from uncollected taxes estimated at $2.2b in 2016, the cost of recovering lands and water bodies destroyed by Galamsey in some parts of the Western region alone is estimated at $250m.
GhISEP supports the current national efforts to fight the ills of illegal mining and calls on the government to reflect on the need for new policies, new strategies or a review of existing laws for our collective good. Given the above, GhISEP resolves as follows;
1. To make our professional experiences available to help improve the biodiversity on our degraded lands and contribute to the improvement of the Ghanaian wellbeing;
2. To play our part as professionals and citizens to help sustain the current efforts by using advocacy to ensure that our institutions, including the Presidency, the Judiciary, the Legislature, including National Security and Security services, and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, offer pragmatic solutions devoid of the Ghanaian “leniency” of fa ma Nyame- Give it to God;
3. To help build a better future for all Ghanaians and our future generations, including the millions who will be denied the chance to lead decent, dignified and fulfilling lives and to achieve their full human potential by conserving and protecting the Ghanaian environment for them;
4. To work with government agencies that are empowered to provide the needed enforcement of our laws to protect the Ghanaian environment (rivers, forest, land etc; and
5. To protect Ghana land from degradation through green Mining Operations by sustainably managing our natural resources and taking urgent action to support current Ghanaian needs, our children, and great-grandchildren.
We rise and fall together. Let us commit to working together to defeat the common enemy. God bless and strengthen our ecosystem. God bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation great and strong in the fight against Galamsey.
Nana ANNOR AMIHERE II