The Act of Parliament that set up the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – (Act 490) – is undergoing amendment to allocate more powers to the state body as a means to help it regulate the ever-dynamic space in which it operates, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) Dr. Kwaku Afriyie has said.
According to him, the new Act when passed will transform the EPA into a more modern institution with a vast mandate and powers to ensure that Ghana not only proactively tackles environmental issues but also conforms to global environmental protocols.
Speaking at the inauguration of new EPA board members, the minister said a holistic environmental protection act will be passed in the coming months to ensure that activities of the EPA lead to higher life expectancy for Ghanaians.
“Elsewhere in the world, similar institutions are revered and feared – because environmental issues have become so important that a lot of sanctions are attached to deviant practices. This is because their action is what will enhance perpetuation of the human species, or our demise in the future if we do not get the balance between development, technology and human existence right,” the minister said.
He added that developing countries like Ghana should not mimic the mistakes of other developed countries, but rather chart a path that will make the world a better place, “the reason this amendment has become imperative”.
He hinted that the name Environmental Protection Agency might be changed to reflect the enhanced regulatory powers which will be handed to the new body after parliamentary approval.
“You are going to be clothed with a lot of power and with a wider enforcement regime to help do a lot of good for the country, continent and the world. If we are talking climate change, biodiversity, managing e-waste and petroleum waste; these are all vast areas for which the EPA will have to build a lot more capacity to regulate properly.”
The minister added that the vast responsibilities of the EPA have resulted in it having to engage some more ministries apart from MESTI in the execution of their tasks. Therefore, the new act will ensure there is a clear procedure to adopt in matters which need cross-ministerial engagement.
“Using plastic waste as an example, we need to engage the Local Government and Water and Sanitation ministries. This is critical because they are key to a successful fight, how do we do these engagements; the new law will show the way,” he said.
Members of the EPA board
Members of the 6th Governing Board Environmental Protection Agency are Kwesi Enyan as Chairman; Maame Kesewa Eshun, Dr. Mohammed-Sani Abdulai, Oliver Boachie, all members; Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Executive Director; Cynthia Mare Bediako, representing MESTI; Clifford Edmund Frimpong, from the Ghana Standards Authority; and Mike Yaw Osei-Atweneboana, representing the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The rest are Stephen Djaba, Association of Ghana Industries (AGI); Frank Raji and Franklin Ashiadey, representing the ministries of Local Government and Rural Development and Finance and Economic Planning respectively. Catherine Agyapomaa Appiah-Pinkrah represents the Ministry of Education and Benjamin Ampomah Nkansah represents the Ministry of Health.