EPA to set up 35 more offices to decentralise operations

EPA to set up 35 more offices to decentralise operations
EPA Executive Director, Henry Kwabena Kokofu

Some 35 more operational offices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be set up in the coming months across the country to further decentralise the activities of the agency, Executive Director, Henry Kwabena Kokofu, has revealed.

The move would be coming on the back of an amendment of the EPA Act which would see the state body’s regulatory mandate expanded.

It is expected that these offices would help to safeguard environmental related issues from rural communities.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie, during his speech at the swearing-in of the new board members of the EPA said that the agency would be seeing a massive facelift.

My understanding from the Executive Director shows that 35 operational districts are going to be set up within the next few years. This is to expand and discharge your activities across the nation. Environmental issues are not reserved for the capital cities and big towns but it is prevalent in every community in all the districts nationwide.

In fact, sometimes it is a rural phenomenon more than an urban one. We need to build capacity and ensure that we do what is right,” the Minister said.

He added: “The new 35 operational districts would be cited at places marked as hot spots, where there is heavy environmental pollution – galamsey, sand and gravel winning, illegal fishing, industrial pollution and many more.

There is more to be done in terms of e-waste and let me use this occasion to talk to you about it. We at the ministry are trying our best but the mandate falls within your domain and we expect that we come together to tackle e-waste head-on. The board is well structured to deal with all these issues and we expect results.”

Executive Director, Henry Kwabena Kokofu, on his part, said that one of the critical things the agency would be looking at, going into the future, is education, as many people are unaware of the dangerous environmental activities they engage in.

“There had been a seemingly unyielding challenge of people who were unaware of the environmental laws and so they continued to abuse them with careless abandonment,” he said.

He said that was why the EPA had set it upon itself to tackle education and awareness of the populace on the environmental laws this year.

Dr. Kokofu said the Agency would, through the engagement, reach out to the populace with a more comprehensive agenda to get people to understand the need to protect the environment.

He said with the EPA currently having offices in all 16 regions, with its additional 250 new officers, and 20 vehicles supplied to the Agency last year by the government, the Agency was well-positioned to carry out its mandate properly.

Dr. Kokofu said, though, people would deliberately and consciously flout the laws, the Agency would be resolute in tackling the issues, after it had engaged major stakeholders, including its clients and the media.

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