Ishmael Ashitey in a handshake with the MCD,Alhaji Hanina Salam
The La Dade Kotopon Municipal Coordinating Director, Alhaji Hanina Salam, has disclosed that the second gas station near the Ghana Trade Fair Site would be closed down as precautionary measure to avert disaster in future.
“The Municipal Security Council (MSC) is very worried about the safety of a number of persons living and transacting business near the facility. The La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly (LaDMA) is also very close to it and we do want to take any chances,” he remarked.
Alhaji Hanina Salam, who disclosed this during a visit by the Greater Accra Regional Minister, Ishmael Ashitey on Wednesday, mentioned that the assembly was awaiting the final report on the incident, which took place last year.
On December 23, 2016, a gas explosion hit the La Trade Fair area, which resulted in the deaths of more than nine persons and injuries to several persons.
Eyewitnesses said the explosion occurred in the afternoon and the fire swept through the entire area.
The Greater Accra Regional Minister, who earlier visited the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), on his part, called for collaboration between various institutions and organized groups, among others, to help address the myriad of challenges confronting the region.
“I entreat you to recognize that our richness, talents and capacities and resources, when harnessed, would improve our wellbeing,” he appealed.
The Minister, who described perennial flooding in Accra as one of the major challenges, called for proper waste management.
“There is no reason why our gutters should choke if city authorities effectively and efficiently manage waste,” he added.
He also charged the AMA to take steps to decongest the Central Business District (CBD) and be prudent in their spending.
A private legal practitioner has sued the Brong-Ahafo Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission over the failure to regularize and regulate compartments that had been developed into teak plantations.
The plaintiff-Nana Obiri Boahen, a Deputy General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), wants the court to declare that he has not engaged any person or group of persons as joint partners in the afforestation exercise.
Joined to the suit as second defendant is the Forest Services Division, head office in Accra.
The lawyer, in a statement of claim, said since 2002 he has used his own resources to undertake afforestation on Compartment 305, Kwamekrom, Compartment 316, Bridgeso and Compartment 293, among others.
The plaintiff said on April 16, 2003, he appealed to the Executive Director of the Forestry Services Division to undertake afforestation in the Tain I and II Forest Reserves, both at Adoe and Abronye respectively.
The NPP scribe indicated that in 2009, he wrote to the Commission and stress the need to undertake proper mapping and final regularization of all the compartments he had personally developed.
“In response to the said letter, Mr. Joe R. Ackah, the Zonal Plantation Manager, Brong Ahafo Region, wrote to the Executive Director Forest Service Division urging the Division to expedite action on the plaintiff’s request to regularize and lease out the developed compartments.”
Mr. Boahen averred that notwithstanding the said letter, the defendants failed to respond to his request.
He stated that even though he enjoyed maximum cooperation and support from officials of the division, he had been compelled to initiate the instant action because of the behaviour and unnecessary interference by some officials of the Division.
Lawyer Boahen, among others, contended that his patience and tolerance have all thinned out completely and thus the only option now was to seek legal redress in court to protect and defend both his legal and constitutional rights.
The plaintiff, however, wants the court to award general damages for inconvenience and an order of perpetual injunction against the defendants.
Government would tackle illegal mining activities (galamsey) through collaboration, law enforcement and technological approach, Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has announced.
He said these interventions would first have to identify the challenges and the available opportunities in the mining sector.
He recounted that in 2014, a number of foreigners were arrested in various swoops and deported.
He said the commitment to sustain these swoops to preserve and protect the environment had been lacking because it was not sustainable.
“This is why the Ministry has come up with a concept of Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP),” Mr Amewu stated on Wednesday in Accra during the Stakeholders Workshop on ‘How to Control Illegal Mining Activities in Ghana.’
“This Project will be planned and implemented between three to five years. A holistic approach to combat illegal mining relies on more than just militants and combat actions in mining communities; MMIP combines Legislations Enforcement Civil Integration and Technical Approach (LECITA) as a sustainable and structured but regimental conjoint concept which will encompass multi stakeholders,” the Minister stated.
Mr Amewu said the mining sector in Ghana was categorised into large and small scale; adding that the Small Scale Mining (SSM) sector was reserved for Ghanaians, while the Large Scale Mining (LSM) sector was opened for foreign participation.
“It is estimated that 25,000 and over 1.5 million people are engaged in the large scale and the small scale mining sectors respectively,” he said.
“One can only see that the SSM sector provides more jobs to people than the large scale mining sector.
“However, the LSM sector is more organised and, therefore, environmentally friendly than the small scale mining especially illegal mining,” he said.
Mr Amewu said illegal SSM was seen carried out in forest reserves, water bodies, cocoa farms and LSM concessions and even around sensitive infrastructures like schools and railway lines.
He explained that Galamsey activities have had and continue to have negative impacts on the environment and socio-economic development of the entire country in recent years.
Mr Amewu said the menace of illegal mining had assumed a dimension that posed a threat to national security and therefore, required a multi-stakeholder engagement to identify the various challenges and available opportunities for overcoming them.
He said various interventions initiated by successive governments to address the galamsey menace had been hampered by various challenges such as the lack of political will, inability to enforce laws and ownership of lands versus ownership of minerals.
Others were the spectrum of people involved, diplomatic relations with affected foreign nationals’ countries and necessary support from some state institutions and every citizen.
He said the government had the political will to enforce the appropriate measures to control illegal mining in the country.
Dr Toni Aubynn, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said it was high time government found a lasting solution to the issue of illegal mining in the country.
Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, a mining consultant and an Independent Presidential Candidate in the 2016 general election, called for a second look at the issue of SSM; adding that there was the need to develop a system to reclaim all degraded mining areas.
Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Paramount Chief of the Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, who chaired the event, explained that illegal mining was an illegality and should not be confused with galamsey activties.
Mr Jiang Zhouteng, the Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana and Mr Andrew Barns, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana were among the dignitaries who attended the workshop.
By: Mildred Siabi-Mensah GNA
Takoradi, March 9, GNA – The citizenry have been called upon not to raise structures or dump waste along the buffers zones of the country’s water bodies.
This is because leaving the buffer zones undisturbed contributed to maintaining the ecosystem, ensured protection and improvement of biodiversity.
Lawyer Bernadette Arabs Adjei, Principal Legal personnel at the Water Resources Commission at a workshop on the development of buffer zones said buffers provided the needed goods and services on sustainable basis to support the livelihood of local communities.
The workshop was to solicit input from stakeholders on a legislative instrument and dissemination of the Dam Safety Regulations (LI 2236).
Reduced vegetation cover along water bodies coupled with increasing pollution from domestic and industrial waste had resulted in sediments and its subsequent deterioration in water quality of natural water bodies, Ms Adjei noted.
The objective of the LI is aimed at ensuring that all designated buffer zones along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies are protected in a sustainable manner.
Ms Adjei said the LI sought to ensure that buffer zones were incorporated into the local land use plans, provide specifics on alterations of natural conditions in some areas and exclude the exploitation or occupations that were inimical to the purposes of designated zones.
Dr. Bob Alfa, Surface Water Engineer at the Commission, entreated Ghanaians entrepreneurs in that sector to acquire the necessary licensing from the Commission in the guidelines regarding the sector was followed.
Participants during the plenary discussion called for more community engagement and awareness on the subject to win their corporations.
The assemblies were also urged to establish bye laws to protect buffer zones.
The sonic backdrop to our lives is increasingly one of unwanted technospheric noise, writes Paul Mobbs. And as it eclipses the sounds of nature, it’s taking its toll on our health, wellbeing and quality of life. So as well as campaigning for more trees, and quieter cars, trucks and aircraft, what’s to be done? Let us seek out calm moments of quiet tranquillity – and listen to the birds.
Human interaction with nature is an absolute essential for well-being. Walking out into a dark morning to sit in a hedge and listen to birds may seem a strange route to health, but the evidence is that it works.
A few days ago I went for a walk, well before the dawn, in order to listen to the ‘dawn chorus’. It’s something I like to do a few times a year, especially in the early Spring when the birdsong is at its loudest.
I’ve been doing these walks since before my teens. Over that period there’s been one inescapable change in the countryside around my home town of Banbury – noise.
In many ways the modern urban-dweller has become immured to noise; we exclude it, and bar it from our thoughts – a process even more challenging since the advent of the personal stereo and the mobile phone. But we never truly escape it.
For those who like to enjoy the natural environment, noise is something to be escaped from within the relative sanctuary of the landscape. These days that’s getting harder and harder to accomplish.
That’s not only because of noise from all around – in particular from urban areas, roads and the increasing mechanisation of agriculture – but also due to the increasing level of air traffic overhead.
Bird song is good for you
Walking out before the dawn my objective was to reach Salt Way, which fringes the south-western quadrant of Banbury. It’s the old Roman salt route from Droitwich to Buckinghamshire, which has existed since long before the town itself, and which links to the more ancient prehistoric Portway and Welsh Road trackways.
Due to its age Salt Way has exceptionally dense, wide and species-rich ancient hedgerows which demarcate it from the surrounding fields.
Perfect for listening to birds. Except on that morning, as even before rush hour the easterly breeze was wafting the sound of the M40 motorway from over two and a half miles away, on the other side of town.
In the study the researchers were able to demonstrate a positive correlation between the quality of people’s everyday experience of nature, and a lower prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress. These results build upon a wealth of other similar studies which have appeared over the last few years – part of the growing fields of ecopsychology.
One of the principal metrics the study used to assess the ‘quality’ of a persons natural experience was the afternoon abundance of birds. While that doesn’t strictly correlate to where I am now, stood in the gloom of a pre-dawn byway, I think the comparison was valid – given the louder and intense levels of birdsong I was able experience.
Noise and nuisance
If ‘natural’ experiences are good for you, does the inverse effect hold true? – that urban noise is bad for you?
The damage of noise to society has been acknowledge in English law since Henry III introduced the concept of ‘public nuisance’, almost 800 years ago. Urban environments can also create negative health effects, especially in terms of stress and mental health.
Generally what many research studies find is that our recovery from the stresses of everyday life tends to be better, and takes place faster, when we are exposed to green landscaped spaces or less noisy natural environments. Difficulty is, that’s getting harder to do these days – the result of higher urbanization globally.
Banbury is a growing town. Immediately to the west of the section of Salt Way where I was sat, the construction of a few hundred houses was about to commence. Permission for another thousand was recently granted on the opposite side of the main A361 road. To the north another five hundred are being planned or built, and another 2,500 are being added to the southern edge of the town right now.
That doesn’t just mean that the species rich hedgerow along Salt Way will be severed from the countryside by urban development – perhaps reducing its diversity in future.
As each year passes, it takes longer to get to the outside of the town; and progressively harder to escape the ‘noise’ envelope of the town as its larger size generates higher volumes of traffic and thus noise.
But aren’t cars are getting quieter?
Road vehicles are not the only significant source of noise. Eg, for those of you who drink instant coffee, the occasional hiss of high pressure steam that radiates out across Banbury is created by your caffeine craving – as the leading brands are made here in Europe’s biggest coffee plant.
The common misapprehension about road noise is that it’s about motorized vehicles. In fact, unless the vehicle has a mechanical fault, a large part of the noise comes from the tyre’s contact with the road surface. Hence the use of many more electric vehicles would still give rise to significant road noise.
As a briefing from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology noted in 2009, while the noise emitted by cars has reduce by eleven decibels since 1970, there has been no associated reduction in the road noise generated. That’s because tyre noise is difficult to tackle, and also because traffic volumes have significantly increased, meaning there are more tyres making noise.
Here in Banbury we also have another problem – aircraft. It’s a lot less ‘acute’ than it was, since the USAF’s jet fighters left their local base in 1994. However the trans-Atlantic air corridors for south-east England and middle-Europe cross the skies above North Oxfordshire. At certain times of the day, particularly morning and evening, the ‘chronic’ level noise from above is almost constant.
The invasive nature of that noise was highlighted in 2010 when the Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted. I went for a walk and there was something glaringly different about the landscape. Then I realized: no aircraft noise – the result of the flight ban.
The effect was stunning, stirring, and unfortunately short-lived.
What we’re talking about here is lost ‘tranquility’
Since 1970, RCEP had produced some of the UK government’s best, and most politically embarrassing academic studies on pollution and the environment – from nuclear waste to soil protection.
In 1994, RECP produced its ground-breaking 18th Report on Transport and the Environment. Against the background of the Government’s road building programme of that time, the contents were inflammatory – and increased the level of protests against new road construction.
In that report there were two maps which showed the level of ‘tranquility’ – the area of countryside unaffected by road, aircraft or urban noise – in the south-east of England. One map showed the ‘tranquil’ area in 1960, the other in 1992. Subtracting one map from the other you realize the level of ‘tranquil’ countryside which was lost over that 30-year period.
In their conclusions RCEP stated,
“Noise from vehicles and aircraft is a major source of stress and dissatisfaction, notably in towns but now intruding into many formerly tranquil areas. Construction of new roads and airports to accommodate traffic is destroying irreplaceable landscapes and features of our cultural heritage.”
The importance of ecopsychology to environmentalism
It would be easy to reduce this to an issue of car tyres, or the encroachment of urbanization. Instead what environmentalism has to grasp are the clear messages about human well-being which are emerging from ecopsychological research.
Climate change is abstract. Air pollution, except under extreme conditions, is abstract. Yet studies which examine the fundamental psychological human dependence upon the natural environment can tell us something which, for many, is directly appreciable.
Talking about wellbeing, or the the stress- and anxiety-reducing qualities of green space, might seem a distraction from the perilous ecological challenges of our time. That is a far too limited perspective:
If we deal with road noise, by reducing the use of road vehicles, or reducing their speeds, we affect both air pollution and climate change.
If we increase green spaces, and take greater care with how the urban fringe is managed, then we improve people’s ability to access nature and increase their well-being – and we also begin to address issues such as biodiversity loss and landscape fragmentation.
More than anything, increasing people’s awareness of the natural environment would increase society’s valuation of it – and their propensity to change to protect it.
A few years ago I write a briefing on ecopsychology as part of a series on how lightweight camping/backpacking could be a means to address lifestyle sustainability – and allow people to adapt/develop the skills to live lower-impact lifestyles in their own homes as a result.
A focus on ecopsychology as part of local environment campaigns, especially for children, could be equally transformative – particularly as current economic and political trends are questioning the value of ‘big’ ecological issues such as climate change.
Small is, after all, beautiful?
That morning, walking to the top of Banbury’s local summit, Crouch Hill, the sun rose through a cloudy horizon. All around the noise level had been growing steadily as the rush hour approached and the roads filled with vehicles.
Moving beyond that requires more than a change of transport policy. What it requires is a realization that human interaction with nature is an absolute essential for well-being.
Far more than just changing your diet or going to the gym, contact with nature is a mechanism to find ourselves as ‘whole’ people; part of our environment, not shielded or walled away from it.
Walking out into a dark morning to sit in a hedge and listen to birds may seem a strange route to health, but the evidence is that it works.
By: Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA
Fumesua, (Ash), Mar 09, GNA – The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) has appealed for increased national support to develop and produce botanical pesticides to aid food production.
Dr. Daniel Aniagyei Ofori, the Director, said it had already conducted research into tree species, which could be used to produce non-harmful and highly effective pesticides for farming.
He indicated that they were having a difficulty going into large scale production of these because of the lack of funds and logistical support.
He was briefing the Minister of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, on research activities of the Institute at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality.
The Minister was in the Ashanti Region to acquaint himself with the operation and the challenges faced by institutions under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Dr. Ofori said the high point of bio-pesticides was that these were not harmful and environmentally-friendly to food and cash crop production.
He mentioned the neem tree and Jathopha as some of the trees, which had proven to be suitable for bio pesticide production.
He spoke of the production of the ‘Prekese Syrup’ by the Institute, which had been certified by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and was on the market.
‘Prekese’ is believed to have chemical properties which can be used to manage hypertension and other heart conditions.
He said studies were ongoing to identify high-yielding and early maturing ‘prekese’ trees to establish plantations for sustainable supply of the raw material for production.
Dr. Ofori hinted of a number of model technologies and innovations to support agroforestry for climate resilience, food security and job creation.
Added to these, were technologies for sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation, alongside allometric equations for above ground and below ground biomass estimation, used in mapping of forest cover and carbon stock.
FORIG has also established seed orchards and seed stands, engaged in the production of improved seeds and seedlings for planting, site-species matching and techniques for planting establishments.
Again, there was the production of briquette from sawn dust for biofuel energy and an extender for plywood production from cassava.
Dr. Ofori pointed out that it had the expertise to develop technologies that would help protect the nation’s natural resources and its biodiversity, promote efficient utilization of forest timber and non-timber products, identify medicinal and food products to improve the lives of the people.
Prof Frimpong Boateng commended FORIG for its achievement and said it was time research outcomes by local scientists were fully utilize for the benefit of the nation.
Accra, March 9, GNA – The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) says less than 10 percent of wastewater in the country is treated and therefore called for measures in prioritising its recycling to enhance socio-economic development.
Mrs Margaret Macauley, the Chief Manager of the Water Quality Assurance Department (WQAD) of the GWCL, made the call at the media launch of this year’s World Water Day, in Accra, on Thursday, on the theme: ”Water and Waste Water”.
She said the opportunities for exploiting wastewater as a resource were enormous because safely managed, wastewater could serve as an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.
She said as a nation, we must ensure systematic reduction in the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe re-use of both liquid and solid waste.
According to her, a large proportion of wastewater generated was discharged directly into the environment without or with very little treatment because the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies that were responsible for waste management lacked the capacity to manage them effectively.
She said pragmatic steps must be taken to improve the sources of water by reducing pollution, eliminate dumping of liquid and solid waste as well as minimise the release of hazardous chemicals and materials into water bodies.
The Chief Manager of the WQAD of the GWCL noted that most of the wastewater treatment plants were dysfunctional and therefore partially treated wastewater were discharged back to the environment which could negatively affect the ecosystem and pose a health risk to the surrounding communities.
She said: ”Water has to be carefully managed throughout the various paths of the water cycle from fresh water abstraction, pre-treatment, treatment, distribution, use, collection of grey water, post-treatment, re-use of the treated wastewater, and its ultimate return to the environment, ready to be abstracted to start the cycle again.
Mrs Macauley observed that water was essential to human existence and core to sustainable development, and also played a critical role to the wellbeing and prosperity of the people.
She said the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 explicitly recognised universal access to water as a human right and considered it as one of the most important issues of the 21st century.
She noted that water was needed for domestic, commercial and industrial purposes and, therefore, called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to maintain its wholesomeness and availability.
The Executive Secretary of Water Resources Commission, Mr Benjamin Ampomah, who chaired the function, reiterated the need for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to tackle the menace of illegal mining which had polluted major water bodies across the country.
He said water was a valuable resource that played an essential role in human survival therefore the issue of illegal mining should be tackled with all seriousness and perpetrators made to face the full rigours of the law.
The World Water Day is celebrated by the international community on the 22nd of March each year, to draw attention to the importance of freshwater and advocate the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
This year’s theme: Water and Waste Water,” provides an important opportunity for all stakeholders to learn more about how wastewater can be a valuable resource to the country’s economy and how its safe management would aid in investment as well as the health of the populace and the ecosystem.
Some activities earmarked for the celebration include public awareness creation through radio and television discussions, editorials, writing of feature articles, radio news commentaries and special in-depth news interviews.
The celebration would be climaxed on March 22 with tour of some water recycled plants by various stakeholders.
Pupils of the Ashaiman Presby A and B basic schools, are appealing to the Ashaiman Municipal Assembly to close down a major refuse damp which is very close to the school.
According to the pupils, they have no choice than to go home earlier than the normal closing time due to the smoke that emanates from the dumping site.
Apart from that, they say they have to put up with house flies in their classrooms as a result of the proximity to the dumping site.
The pupils who spoke to Citi News noted that, the situation makes learning difficult and uncomfortable.
“We don’t feel like schooling here anymore because we don’t like the smell that comes from the dumping site as well as the houseflies and the smoke. All the time, we have to inhale the thick toxic smoke and be killing houseflies with our bare hands. Our school uniforms are always smelly because of the problem we face here. Just yesterday one of our friends collapsed because the smoke was very thick and it lasted all through our school hours” they complained
A teacher who spoke to Citi News on condition of anonymity also noted that, they have petitioned the Municipal Assembly several times but to no avail.
He said “our school often than not closes the kids earlier than the normal closing hours because even we the teachers just cannot take the smoke and the stench from the site. Most of us teachers are contemplating leaving the school because our health is at stake”
Meanwhile Citi News has gathered that the pupils last week staged a mini demonstration when the Greater Accra Regional Minister Ishmael Ashitey paid a working visit to Ashaiman.
They appealed to the Regional Minister to as a matter of urgency order the Assembly to relocate the dumping site since it is having a negative effect on their health.
Germany and Ghana have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the field of electronic waste management and recycling.
Seeing the environment and especially the recycling of electronic devices mostly produced outside of Ghana as a shared responsibility, the Federal government of Germany decided to commit €25,000,000.
This is to alleviate the environmental impact of electronic waste in the country and improve the working conditions of people in the sector.
The “Hazardous and Electronic Waste Law” passed in 2016 sets the legal framework for the German-Ghanaian engagement.
A statement from the German Embassy in Ghana said, “Germany wishes to use the opportunity to congratulate Ghana on passing this ground-breaking law, which translates the Basel convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal into national law.”
The statement noted that Germany will commit €5,000,000 for a Technical Cooperation program through the implementing agency GIZ, which will focus on improving the working conditions of workers along the electronic waste value chain.
The move will support the private sector engagement in recycling industries and also develop the framework conditions to implement the law.
“Furthermore, €20,000,000 (through the KfW Development bank) will be dedicated to the establishment of an incentive mechanism for sound collection and recycling of e-waste as well as for a collection centre of the Government of Ghana.
“Both elements of the programme are intended to prepare the establishment of the Ghanaian recycling fund as stipulated in the E-Waste-Law,” the statement added.
The commitment for the e-waste collection and recycling mechanism will be announced with the official handing-over of a Note Verbal to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation on March 13.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, as well as the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff, will be the keynote speakers at the event.
By Afedzi Abdullah, GNA
Essakyir (C/R), March 10, GNA – The students and staff of Essakyir T.I. Ahmadiyya Senior High School (SHS) in Ekumfi District of the Central Region are facing an acute water problem, which is disrupting teaching and learning at the school.
Mr Mohammed Quantson, Headmaster of the school in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), described the situation as one that was unbearable for school authorities as it affected academic work.
The school spends about Gh¢900.00 every week on water and that, he said was taking a toll on the finances of the school.
He said the school has since its establishment not been connected to the Ghana Water Company’s system and appealed to the Government to help bring portable water to the school.
‘The only borehole supplying about 1,251 students and over 80 teaching and non-teaching staff of the school is very salty and difficult to use,’ he said.
Mr Quantson also mentioned the increasing student population as another problem and expressed fear that overcrowding in the dormitories could be worse, indicating that ‘it will be a great relief to us if the dormitory block is completed for us’.
Other challenges enumerated by the headmaster included inadequate classrooms, staff accommodation and poor road network in the school.
He has therefore appealed to old students, non- governmental organisations, philanthropists and other corporate institutions to come to the aid of the school.