The Executive Director for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Henry Kwabena Kokofu, has indicated his outfit’s decision to coordinate with the assemblies to aid in dealing with EPA limitations at the various local levels.
According to him, there are laws at the local level which do not allow EPA to operate freely – unless there is some level of coordination between the assemblies to strongly deal with groups or individuals that go contrary to the environmental laws.
Dr. Kokofu noted that the mandate of EPA is basically to tackle environmental issues; however, many times certain laws hinder the agency from taking action against offenders, as the local assemblies have been empowered by law to take certain decisions on their own.
“For instance, you get to a district assembly and there is a building that needs to be demolished; but the assembly has its own laws so we cannot break it,” he said.
Stressing what can be done to end the problem, he said the EPA will go through the assemblies to take action against offenders.
Dr. Kokofu also that amending the EPA Act will properly position the agency to deal with external pressures and restrictions in their line of duty.
He made this comment at the 3rd edition of the Africa Public Sector Conference and Awards, held under the theme ‘Repositioning Africa’s Public Sector for Sustainable Development’ in Accra.
Speaking on other innovative plans to save the environment from degradation, Dr. Kokofu stated that the agency through the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) has outlined some measures to deal with plastic collection.
He said banning plastics in the country cannot be possible, but sensitising the public on how to properly use and dispose of them for recycling will be a good option in place of a ban.
Director General for National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kenya, Mamo B. Mamo, sharing the strategies Kenya adopted in banning plastics said: “It took us about a whole year to sit with the plastic manufacturers. They were not ready to accept, but we gave them the opportunity to come out with other alternatives rather than plastics”.
He added that they had aggressive sensitisation on the banning of plastics, with strong law backing them to resist any external pressures. He said individuals who are found using plastics are fined.