Experts at the first environmental sustainability summit hosted by B&FT stressed that enforcement of the respective laws will protect the environment in the country’s efforts to address the socio-economic impacts of pollution on natural life.
They argued that while the proactive roles of all stakeholders in environmental protection are crucial, the laws needed to hold individuals, organizations and different sectors accountable for their actions and inactions must go beyond paper and be applied.
They believe the move could help deal with the culprits of the pollution, adding that individuals need to be deliberate and intentional about preserving the atmosphere.
Speaking on the theme “The impact of pollution on environmental sustainability” in line with this year’s theme “Socio-economic impact of pollution on natural life”, the experts also noted the need to make available accurate data that will influence policy decisions in the future. .
“The theme is topical; environmental sustainability is essential because it connects everything and is the policy that will guide actions. Without it, people will do things anyway. The policy is essential to ensure uniformity and a level of standardization for everything that happens,” said Sophia Kudjordji, Director of Corporate Communications at Jospong Group of Companies.
Regarding the issue of banning single-use plastics, Ms. Sophia Kudjordji suggested that while this should be a national action, the country should consider implementing it gradually.
“It’s a nationwide thing that needs to be done, but can we start with our schools, institutions and businesses and find small pockets of society to start with? It will be difficult to start as a whole let’s start small,” she urged.
The Director of Corporate Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Forestry Commission, Cudjoe Awudi, also said that given the country’s lack of general data on the subject, academia should collaborate with the public and private sectors to generate appropriate and accurate data that will inform effective decision-making.
According to Global Forest Watch, Ghana has lost a total of 1.41 million hectares of forest cover between 2001 and 2021, which is equivalent to a 20% decrease in forest cover over the past twenty years, with 740 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
The report also states that the country’s rate of deforestation is high and concentrated in areas of high poverty, with land use shifting from forests to agricultural land and causing almost 92% of forest degradation.
It is on the reverse that the senior lecturer and head of development at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, Dr Micheal Tuffour, said that with the increase in population and the need to create jobs , the environment presents a huge avenue to employ many young people.
“There are a lot of young people who don’t have jobs. The environment is an avenue for creating new jobs. There is land available to plant trees and these are ways to solve one challenge with another. We can even look at trees that produce fruit.
“So at the same time you’re making sure you’re reducing carbon emissions, environmental degradation, adding to reforestation and improving the environment while providing food. This can help ensure safety food and jobs,” he said.