The European Union (EU) Anti Corruption, Rule of Law and Accountability Programme (ARAP)on Friday, in Accra presented equipment worth 48,616 Euros to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upscale the compliance monitoring system.
The equipment include, 11 each of drones, charging hubs, landing pads,wrap packs,remote straps, battery safe bag, Huawei Media Pad and 22 extra batteries for the drones critical for the development and rollout of the support for effective prosecutions of environmentally related crimes.
The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation(MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng said,the acquisition of the drones would help the EPA expand their activities since the agency was an important agency in the fight against illegality in the mining sector.
According to him, the agency was engaging a few people specifically for the monitoring at the mining sector hence, the drones would enable them cover a wide area to enable them capture activities of miners and take actions against them if necessary.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng indicated that, miners with genuine mining concessions would be sanctioned to limit their activities to their concessions while illegal miners would have their licence withdrawn and fined.
Miss Diana Acconcia, Ambassador of the EU delegation to Ghana stated that, the equipment would be deployed in the field to be used in the small scale mining sector and to upscale the compliance monitoring system to other areas such as noise pollution, oil and gas industry.
She said, her outfit remained interested in the other key areas of EPA’s mandate, law enforcement and prosecution of environmental crimes.
“We hope that the additional data and evidence gathered by the technology, the drones, tablets and software will go a long way in helping prosecuting environmental crimes,” she added.
In addition, she noted that, the EPA was one of the most committed stakeholders, working with ARAP in the three critical areas such as compliance monitoring in the small scale mining sector, complaints management and hoped to intensify prosecution of environmental crimes in the future.
“Supervising and ensuring compliance through rules and regulations on this sensitive issue, investing in technology as a way of detecting potential breaches of the law, mismanagement and opportunities for corruption was an innovative approach,” she indicated.
Mr John Alexis Pwamang, Acting Executive Director of EPA said, EU through the ARAP supported his outfit to develop an electronic monitoring and compliance system and gave them two drones, some computers internet Reuters to support the running of the programme.
According to him, the equipment were deployed immediately in some mining areas particularly in Dunkwa-on-Offin, Konongo and Ashanti Region in general and had been useful since.
BY ABEDUWAA LUCY APPIAH