Environmental IssuesGhana Environmental Issues and News

EPA boss vows to crack the whip on occupants of wetlands

By Rhodaline Anane Mensah

Accra, Feb.7 – The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cautioning prospective land buyers against acquiring lands within and around wetlands and other environmentally sensitive areas.

Executive Director Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu has disclosed the EPA has triggered the enforcement procedures against environmental offenders without fear or favour.

He explained police action has already been taken against some offenders and the EPA legal team is preparing to pursue the matter in the law court to serve as deterrent to other offenders.

“Environmental crimes are punishable just like any other crimes, our legal team is preparing most of these recalcitrant offenders for court. We have already initiated police action and we will pursue this matter in the law court. I will also use this medium to caution prospective land buyers against acquiring lands along wetlands because at the end of the day, they may run at a loss because we will pull such structures down. Even if we don’t, nature will take its course.”

The caution comes after Akoma  Fm reported massive encroachment along the Gyafre stream in the Kwadaso Municipality by private developers at the expense of the biodiversity and ecosystem.

In an interview with Executive Director Dr Kokofu, he disclosed the situation forced him to rush to the encroachment site to ascertain the extent of damage the private developers have caused.

After the fact-finding tour, Dr Kokofu, who described the filling of the wetlands as unpatriotic and unfortunate, further entreated the populace particularly land owners to be cautious when reclaiming their lands from wetlands.

He announced a collaboration with Manhyia to earmark certain areas within and around Kumasi as wetlands on sign posts to ward off encroachers.

“Wetlands are not wastelands in these days of climate change,” he said. “We need wetlands to offset floodings to ensure groundwater recharge to conserve biodiversity. In this light, the EPA has earmarked some areas as hotspots for wetlands and nature reserves with signposts to ward off encroachers. The areas are: Anyinam, Ohwim, Atafoa, Miklin opposite, Kwadaso hilltop, Friends gardens, Nkawie, Ahinsan estate, Kaase, Adiebeba and Daaban.”

Dr Kokofu assured of relentless effort to wage war against encroachers to ensure full enforcement of the law.

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