The Challenge of the Environment, need for an environmental mov’t – Dr Kissi

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Dr Dickson Kissi

When the water in our rivers, lakes and oceans become polluted, it can endanger all of us, make our drinking water unsafe, and threaten the waters where we swim and fish.  We need to work hard to protect Ghana’s waters. We need strategic planning to chart our course for protecting public health and the environment in every community in Ghana during the next decade and beyond. While we have made significant progress during the past few years, we are facing increasingly complex environmental and human health concerns at a time of great economic constraints.

Each industry leader and governmental agency leader should be committed to engaging in the most pragmatic, collaborative and flexible way possible to achieve environmental benefits for our children, ourselves and the future generations. We know that a healthy environment and a strong economy can go hand-in-hand. I hope we can make a visible difference in communities across the country. We need to protect water, a precious limited resource. We need to focus on designing rules and regulations that are easier to implement. In the end we all want reduced pollution and an improved environment.

As a country we need to improve on basic structures for regulating dumping of pollutants into waters of our nation. Mining activities, industrial production of all kinds of products including beer, chairs, bottled water, bottled drinks and others largely affect the water we drink in the country. We need the environmental protection agency to implement serious pollution control programs for Ghanaian manufacturers. Our water plan for development should make it unlawful to discharge any pollutant into navigable waters. Permits should be issued to industries, municipal and other governmental and non-governmental facilities if their discharges go directly to surface waters. This will ensure drinking water is safe and water bodies and their aquatic ecosystems can protect human health, support economic and recreational activities and provide healthy habitat for fish, plants, and wildlife.

We need to bring national attention to water pollution issues. As always we need to protect human health by safeguarding the air we breathe, water we drink and land on which we live. I am saddened by the growing number of people who dump waste into gutters and streams. After any huge rainfalls we see all kinds of garbage within water ways in the country and the road. It is time we take this matter very serious as we create more awareness.

Genesis1:26

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

If we have been given dominion over the earth by the Creator, then please let’s take very good care of our environment. I admire the Netherlands because it has mastered the art of flood protection and water supply and treatment. They have a lot to offer our nation as we strive to improve on water management. Our current challenges and sanitation issues should spur innovation and cooperation. I believe that by putting heads together, we can take control of water pollution.

Despite the frightening implications of pollution problems, many segments of our population still look on the rivers as waste storage. The offensive waste produced by human activities are dumped into the waters to be carried away in the flow downstream; once out of sight, the problem is out of mind. People in our communities need to wake up to the realities of how this bad practice affects our public health in the nation. In terms of health cost, bad drinking water source, reduction in revenue from recreational activities along the beaches and on the water fronts. Unfortunately, large companies who fear the cost of pollution control are devising ways to defer working to solve our water pollution issues. Private remedies must be employed in the face of ineffective administrative enforcement within our country. Water pollution will continue to be a difficult social problem but we all need to work towards reducing it.

It is a question of the first magnitude whether the destiny of our great water bodies is to be the receptacle for plastic waste and mining related chemicals along their banks or to be protected against everything which threatens the clean and tidy aquatic environment. I will leave that to you and me and our future generations yet unborn.

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