National Environmental Policy

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national environmental policy of ghana
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   1 NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY SECTION A 1.0 INTRODUCTION Ghana is endowed with abundant natural resources, which have played very important roles in the agricultural, industrial, economic and social development efforts of the country. However, as a result of incessant exploitation of these natural resources to meet the legitimate socio-economic aspirations of the people, adequate care has often not been taken to guard against the depletion and mis-management of the resources. Consequently, this process of unsustainable development has caused irreparable damage resulting in deforestation, land degradation, air and water pollution, soil erosion, overgrazing, and destruction of bio-diversity among others. Successive governments and people of Ghana have come to realize that the process of democratic governance can only be guaranteed if it is based on a sound socio-economic framework that is environmentally sustainable. The conservation of resources by all Ghanaians is therefore crucial to our survival as a country. Consequently conservation and sustainable use of these environmental resources and their protection depends on attitudinal and behavioral change by all individuals, households and private and public sector institutions. These tenets were embedded i n Ghana’s first Environmental Policy enacted in 1995. This Policy was based on a broad vision founded on and directed by respect for all relevant principles and themes of environment and sustainable development. Since then, it has become obvious that environment degradation is not only a function of failing world markets and poverty but also of institutional shortcomings at the household, district, regional and national levels. The 1995 Policy identified a restructured lead agency (The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA) to drive the process towards sustainable development. A decade and half later, the lead agency has attempted to spearhead the process of change from narrow conservation to sustainable development paradigm. However, the principal challenge confronting the environmental management process the country is ineffective enforcement of the policies and laws that exist to achieve the desired result.   2 2.0 MAJOR ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES AND CURRENT MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES 2.1 Challenges and management activities The current environmental challenges and management activities in Ghana have been summarized in the following matrix: ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE CHARACTERISTICS MANAGEMENT ACTIVITES 1. Land degradation Results in declining productivity Traditional and modern agricultural  practices have led to declining soil quality, deforestation, accelerated erosion, reduced crop yields, increasing desertifying conditions. Preparation of land use and land cover plans Mapping and environmental information systems of Natural Resources Management Programme (NRMP)  National Soil Fertility Action Plan  National Forest Plantation Development Programme (NFPDP) 2001 Ratification of UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)  National Action Programme to Combat Drought and desertification (EPA, 2000) Ghana Environmental Management Project (3 Northern Regions) 2. Deforestation Marked deterioration of the condition and status of forest Forest resources mainly utilized for  production of logs for export, fuel-wood extraction, charcoal production and agriculture, the main cause of deforestation Inadequate system for monitoring the rate and extent of deforestation Forest destruction through mining,  bush fires and other poor silvicultural management practices Estimated annual forest cover decline of about 70,000 ha. Forestry Commission since 1970 has been implementing comprehensive forest protection strategy to restore forest reserves About 30 areas (121,156 ha) of  protected forests re-designated as Globally Significal Biodiversity Areas (GSBAs) Forestry Commission and Private Sector engaged in cultivation of forest plantations (about 94,00 ha in 2004) Community-protected areas (CPAs) also called “sacred groves” are available in many communities. EPA has recorded 145 CPAs in Ghana. Forest and Wildlife Policy (1994) encourages community involvement in protecting forest resources   3 3. Biodiversity Loss Biological diversity is an indispensable component of natural resource base Rich biodiversity in different parts of Ghana  –   mammals, birds and plants Changes in the environment, drought and climate variability are proximate drivers of biodiversity loss Economic development and urbanization have resulted in rapid loss of biological diversity Current harvest of wildlife for meat is estimated between 225 and 385,000 tons annually Various domestic policies, laws and regulations related to conservation and use of biodiversity, e.g. Forestry and Wildlife policy, water resources policy Designation of “protected areas” –   Six Resource Reserves, Two wildlife Sanctuaries, Seven  National Parks, Six Ramsar Sites and many community based sanctuaries Ghana is party to many international conventions on  biodiversity. -   Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) -   CITES Projects to conserve biodiversity: -    Northern Savanna Biodiversity Conservation Project -    National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 4. Water Pollution Major sources include: domestic and municipal wastes, agricultural and industrial wastes and other improper land use practices Water pollution creates major environmental health problems  –   spread of disease pathogens which create water-borne diseases Marked variation in river water quality for urban and rural settlements due to disposal of liquid and solid waste into water courses Awareness creation campaigns for  protection of watersheds by government agencies and NGOs Impoundments to improve water availability for different uses The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) is assisting communities in the  provision of water and sanitation facilities The African Development Bank (AFDB) has sponsored the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project Provision of safe water in guinea worm endemic communities 5. Marine and Coastal Degradation Marine and coastal areas are under  pressure due to: intensive agricultural production, industrial development, salt production, mining and quarrying and urban development Sources of pollution are municipal and industrial effluents, agricultural runoffs Direct investment in control structures, e.g. Keta Sea Defence Project Gabions and boulder revetments to arrest erosion Mangrove replanting and planting of other vegetative cover, e.g. at Winneba Regulatory incentives  –   fines for   4 Sea erosion, e.g. Keta and Ada illegal mining Policy reforms in land use planning and coastal zone management Investments in waste treatment and small scale waste collection 6. Mining and Industrial Development Mining has been an important industrial activity in the economy of Ghana Small-scale mining for gold and diamond has also been important Main environmental challenges include land devastation, soil degradation, water and air quality deterioration, noise, visual intrusion and social dislocation Mineral Policy and Fiscal Regime EIA Procedures Reclamation Bonds Performance Disclosure Rating System Minerals Commission  NREG Project 7. Urbanization Rapid population growth rate (2.2 %  pa) Regular north-south, rural-urban migration Very high housing demand needs Impact of over-crowding on human health, poor sanitation, absence of sewage treatment plants Lack of planning leading to inordinate growth of cities, e.g. Accra, Kumasi, Tamale Encroachment on reserved open spaces and waterways Proliferation of unapproved settlements Policies and programmes to improve living conditions in rural areas to contain rural-urban migration Improvement in urban transport Affordable housing projects in the main cities Draft Urban Policy in place Draft Housing Policy Cabinet approval of Environmental Sanitation Policy  Northern Region Small Towns Water and Sanitation Project
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