Mr Kwadwo Opoku-Mensah, Western Regional Deputy Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has advised mining communities to participate in public hearings on Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to enable them to hold mining companies accountable.
He explained that the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) was an indication of how a prospective mining company would respond to environmental challenges during operations.
“This is why you need to take part in the hearing processes; you need to know what is contained in the company’s Environmental Impact Statement so that you can identify some gaps or measures you deem fit to be the best solution,” he stressed.
Mr Opoku-Mensah was speaking at a two-day sensitization workshop on the identification of environmental concerns organized by the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and the Wassa East District Assembly (WEDA) under the West Africa Governance and Economic Sustainability (WAGES) in Extractive Areas Project.
Mr Akwasi Owusu-Bi, the Local Governance Specialist with the WUSC in Ghana, said the purpose of the workshop was to identify environmental concerns within the communities to prioritise them.
He said the seminar was also to help participants identify the issues and to seek redress.
It was also to introduce participants to regulators so they could form partnerships to develop the District.
Traditional leaders, Assembly Members, Officers from the Planning and Environmental Departments of the Assembly, personnel from the Information Services Department (ISD) and some journalists attended the meeting.
Topics discussed include the host mining community as an environmental watchdog, environmental concerns, and areas to guard, various Acts that regulate the mining sector and environmental accountability system, and the role of the host mining communities.