Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo, the Senior Minister, says Ghana’s economic activities must be guided by sustainable environmental practices so that her environment is not destroyed in the quest for prosperity.
He informs that, “Ghana’s economic growth and transformation would also be environmentally friendly and sustainable, and our rivers and natural landscape would be clean and our natural resources would be extracted responsibly and sustainably.”
The Senior Minister was speaking at the launch of a book on the environment authored by Dr. Leticia Obeng, a female trailblazing scientist, in Accra.
Mr. Osafo-Maafo hinted that, “Our economic growth would not be achieved at the expense of our environment. We should fight and allow every Ghanaian to accept this idea that our economic growth would not be achieved at the expense of the environment, otherwise we are not thinking about the next generation.”
The Senior Minister observed that “our towns and cities” were engulfed in filth whilst our villages remained relatively clean because those resident in the villages were environmentally conscious and partially responsible for their immediate environment.
He insisted that, “Customs and traditions still have space in our quest for means of environmental sustainability, and if the level of damage and pollution of the environment is what we get from globalization and modernization as a nation, then we should revert to our old ways.”
Mr. Osafo-Maafo quoted Dr. Leticia’s understanding of how nature reacted to man’s abuse by saying, “These environmental things may be abused, but they don’t utter a word; you see the way our rivers are treated, they don’t say anything, and that is a silent heritage.”
He informed that people were no longer concerned about protecting their water bodies and environment, but indigenous knowledge never allowed Ghanaians to mine the river beds or establish farms close to the river.
“Sadly this narrative has changed; galamsey attained national prominence because people have been mounting sustained assault on our water resources, and without the decisive policy response through Operation Vanguard, the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, the Multi-Sectorial Mining Integrated Project, I am sure by now all our major rivers and water bodies would have been destroyed, “Mr. Osafo-Maafo said.
In an overview of the book before the launch, Dr. Leticia Obeng said the transition from Volta River to Volta Dam in Ghana caused the death of many fish species.
“Water is not a dead thing. It’s a life ecosystem with things living in it; it has its own character and chemical composition, etc. so it’s important we look after our water bodies,” she said.
Dr. Obeng added that, “We just have to be careful when we want to build a dam; we have to make sure we secure it. Nobody should be able to jump into it. Secure it with a fix entry point so you can control it, else, at no time diseases would spread.”
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Dr. Obeng asked authorities to clean up the Volta Lake and get rid of the weeds in it because Ghanaians spent a lot of money to build it and should not leave it to rot.
The Volta is Ghana’s share of water God gave us; when we finish our water we can’t go elsewhere for their water. It’s such a good source of everything: transport, fish, water, everything, and nobody seemed to bother, she indicated.
The book, Anthology of a life-time, is a compilation of Dr. Obeng’s works over the years in the areas of preserving water bodies and the environment.