By Abubakari Seidu Ajarfor
The Acting Deputy Executive Director at the Technical Division of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ebenezer K. Appah-Sampong has revealed to Punch that the agency will soon spread its tentacles and open its visibility in some districts inorder to fight against the persistent pollution of land, water and air in the country.
Mr. Appah-Sampong said this at an inception workshop on review and update of the National Implementation Plan of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
He noted that 9 new Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) has been added to the Stockholm Convention by the Conference of the Parties at its four meeting which Ghana is a party.
A situation that requires timely interventions through the establishment of physical mechanisms to prevent the possible effects of POPs such as cancer, allergies and hypersensitivity, damage to the central and peripheral nervous.
He indicated that the situation has precipitated the need for the creation of 12 zonal offices by EPA in some districts and close collaboration with the various district Assemblies.
?Going forward, EPA within the next five years would stretch into the districts. We are going to open offices within the districts, we want to get down to that level now. We are a now working at the regional level we think that if we get closer, thus, expanding from the regional level to the district level,? he stated.
Tackling the situation, he revealed that his outfit will unveil 12 new zonal offices and because of logistics and personnel constraints, each office will about manage five districts.
He added that a task force team will be set up and equipped to monitor and access some of the environmental impacts and the new trends accompanies by the day to day activities of industries and household.
Mr. Appah-Sampong noted that many of the POPs, especially the new ones are with us but there is little or no information about them in the country.
This call for the need to collaborate with traditional leaders and elders, the Chiefs, queen mothers, Assemblymen, the district assemblies and the youth groups to change the mental attitude of people toward the safety our environment.
According to him, the regulatory bodies are working but the onus lies on the people to stop polluting the environment.
He however indicated that one of the challenges of the agency is the inability of the agency to regulate the District Assemblies in order to harmonize the effort of both because of the fact that these assemblies are regulators with oversight responsibilities.
He cited that ?when it comes to Accra, AMA is the regulator of the city. If we all get-to-gather to work, it will solve the many challenges but here we are having issues with AMA where we were forced to take legal action against them over lavender hill.?
In a statement read at the workshop, Mr. Daniel Amlalo, the Executive Director of EPA noted that global effort to reduce and eliminate POPs presence and releases into the environment culminated in the Stockholm Convention in 2004.
He noted that the Stockholm Convention began with 12 initial compounds affectionately called ?dirty dozen.?
According to him, additional chemicals have been added to the Convention therefore parties are expected to review, and update, implement plans on periodic basis as specified by a decision of the conference to manage POPs.
As a requirement, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is assisting EPA with a Global Environment Facility (GEF) Fund to undertake a National Implementation Plans (NIPs).
Since 2007, successes have been achieved in areas such as awareness creation on POPs is ongoing, formulation of a national policy on POPs approved by cabinet, a national programme for the elimination of PCBs in Ghana.
Dr. Sam Adu-Kumi, Acting Director, Chemicals Control and Management Centre, EPA will live to up to its task by ensuring that Ghana is free from pollution.