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Regional News of Saturday, 29 May 2021

Source: GNA

Work hard to ensure successful implementation of AEHPMP - Henry Kokofu

Executive Director of EPA, Henry Kwabena Kokofu Executive Director of EPA, Henry Kwabena Kokofu

Mr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has urged participants who would be involved in the implementation of the Africa Environmental Health and Pollution Management Programme (AEHPMP) to work hard to ensure its success.

He said the project was a Regional approach to improve on the management and reduce exposure to mercury and unintentional Persistent Organic Pollutants (uPOPs).

Addressing participants at the launch of the project, Mr Kokofu said, the approach would promote harmonization of policies and regulations across countries, disseminate state-of-the-art knowledge and best practices to lessen harmful emissions and leverage finance to scale up the practices after the project ends.

He stated that the actions would be conducted through a knowledge platform dedicated to facilitate the coordination and alignment of countries activities with the existing sound practices.

"According to Minerals Commission report (2016), Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM) activities have increased steadily since 1989 and the sector now accounts for 30 percent of Ghana's total output" he said

Mr Kokofu added that in spite of the economic opportunities created by ASGM activities, the informal, illegal and unregulated nature of mercury use create a legacy of severe adverse and irreversible environmental and health damage.

"Mercury contamination could have serious economic consequences to the lucrative local and Regional fisheries due to the potential health risks linked with its bio-accumulation in the food chains", Executive Director of EPA announced.

He said "The government of Ghana through the EPA/MESTI has a vision of implementing integrated and environmentally-sound management solutions to improve upon the collection, transportation and safe disposal or recycling of electronic waste.

"The hazardous and electronic-waste control and management Act, Act 917, 2016 and the corresponding Legal instrument LI 2250, 2016 are also in place to ensure efficient control and management of electronic-waste" he observed.

Mr Kokofu said his outfit worked closely with stakeholders in the ASGM sector and even had educational programmes for them to ensure the use of mercury do not adversely affect humans and the environment.

The Executive Director emphasized that "from the design and preparatory stages of the project give us hope to further increase our efforts in managing the use of mercury in ASGM and electronic waste in Ghana", he said.