Journalists and media professionals from print and broadcast media in the Sekondi-Takoradi metropolis received training on the country’s environmental laws.
The workshop was organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as part of its program to deepen journalists’ understanding of environmental laws in order to properly educate the public.
Participants were exposed to the legal and regulatory framework, standard authorization operations as well as the grievance mechanism put in place by the Agency to deal with complaints.
Mr. Kwadwo Okpoku-Mensah, Deputy Director of the EPA, introduced the participants to the various environmental laws, including; the EPA Act 1994 (Act 490) and the Ghana National Environmental Policy.
According to him, environmental laws have influenced the design and implementation of the management, protection and improvement of the country’s environment, hence the need to make people understand them, especially the media. .
Mr. Opoku-Mensah noted that the drive for development affects the use of resources, but suggested that it should be done in a sustainable way and urged all to be mindful of their actions towards the environment.
He said the integrity and professionalism of all stakeholders was key to creating a better environmental management system, adding, “Everything we do has consequences for the environment and underlined the need to always think about the environment”.
“Our decisions may be indirect, but you may contribute to environmental damage,” he said and reminded citizens of their constitutional obligation to protect and safeguard the environment.
Mr. Opoku-Mensah underscored the importance of the media and said that media attention and reporting on the environment would go a long way in deepening people’s sense of understanding on issues relating to environmental governance.
Regarding the Agency’s grievance mechanism, he said its creation was intended to ensure that customer concerns are promptly addressed.
“Environmental management comes with perspectives and each perspective will determine how you manage it,” he said while calling for a multi-faceted approach to environmental management.
Mr. George Diawuo, Acting Regional Director of EPA described the media as an effective stakeholder in environmental governance and stressed that it plays a crucial role in promoting responsible environmental practices among citizens.
In this regard, he said it is imperative that journalists equip themselves with the right environmental information, to enable them to educate the public accordingly.
He said the workshop also aimed to deepen collaboration among the media and seek their support in addressing the country’s environmental challenges.
Mr. Hakeem Seidu, EPA’s Senior Programs Officer, explained to participants the processes for licensing small and medium enterprises and the requirements for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
Some of the journalists who spoke to the GNA after the training demanded strict enforcement of environmental laws to reduce the negative impact on health and the economy.
“It looks like we have the right laws to meet our environmental challenges. What we need is the political will to enforce them,” they said.