Ghana spends over 850 million dollars on environmental conservation annually, the Head of Natural Resource Management and Biodiversity of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr. Carl Fiati has said.
According to him, 520 million dollars go into land degradation, while 330 million dollars is spent on health conditions posed by mismanagement of the environment.
He made this revelation in an interview with The Ghanaian Times in Accra, on Wednesday.
Mr. Fiati observed that Ghanaians did not pay much attention to the conservation of the natural habitats and natural resources, which, he said had retarded the development of the country.
Speaking on the laws used in regulating natural resource management, Mr. Fiati said the existing statutes were good, however, the enforcement had been the problem.
The Biosafety expert disclosed that more than 1000 communities in the three northern regions were undergoing training on best farming methods that could be used to cultivate the lands for a long period of time.
“We are taking the people in these communities through practices such as bush burning, ploughing and tree planting”, he said.
The education, he said, would help create awareness on the effects of bad land use, adding that, agriculture was a major factor that contributed to the loss of forest reserves in Ghana.
In the area of land preservation, he expressed worry that Ghana had not fared well, saying, ‘apart from conservation landmarks which are designated as reserves for land use, other areas in that particular sector are exploited without proper plans’.
He emphasised the need for all Ghanaians to change their attitude towards the environment so that “we can sustain the management of our natural resources effectively for the next generation to benefit from it.”
Mr. Fiati suggested that persons found culpable should be punished to serve as a deterrent to others and called for collective efforts to fight such social menace.
He indicated that the EPA, which was the statutory body mandated to oversee the affairs of environmental management provided solutions to challenges that beset the country, adding that his outfit was responsible for areas such as marine and coastal environment, biodiversity and safety.
By Luther King Owusu-Amoah