Improved tech, education can drive responsible exploitation of resources


There is a pressing need to invest in improved technologies and intensify education to drive responsible exploitation of natural resources so as to mitigate impacts on the environment, Dr. Michael Tuffuor, Head-Department of Sustainable Development and Policy, University of Environment and Sustainable Development (UESD), has urged.

Speaking at the just-ended Environmental Sustainability Summit 2023 organised by B&FT in Accra, themed ‘Climate change and its impact on food systems, and sustainable environment’, Dr. Tuffour said improved technology for extraction, among other sustainable practices, if adopted could lessen the effects of natural resources exploitation on the environment and boost climate mitigation efforts.

“Technology is very important. You can never stop exploring your natural resources, but if you have the best of technology, you can re-regulate it and control the activities. Resource exploration goes with the use of energy, water and others; how do you make sure that you use the best of technology to extract your natural resource, and do it in such a way that these technologies also enhance sustainability,” he said.

He spoke on the topic ‘Striking a balance between resource exploitation and environmental sustainability: The role of mining, oil and gas companies’, and called for more sustainable methods of natural resources exploitation.

Dr. Tuffour in his submission, noted that in regulating the sector, the concept of economic inequality should be addressed to ensure that people’s livelihoods are protected to prevent conflicts, and ensure they do not lose a sustainable environment to a situation where they have to sell off their rights and suffer in the future.

“Also, make sure that you care about the people – present and future generations; and you don’t do it in such a way that it will be difficult for people to have access to the resource, and also not even find jobs to do – which will bring about resource-based conflicts.”

Public education

As a means of mitigating the effects of exploration activities on the environment, Dr. Tuffuor advocated increased education and sensitisation among the public – especially residents of the mining communities, saying their consciousness about the sector and their actions play a major role.

“We need to educate people to know the effects of actions that they take; and even with galamsey, people are actually selling their lands because they don’t know their rights. With education, people will be very conscious of their actions and the environment. When such consciousness is created, people are aware of the impact of pollution and all that,” he stated.

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