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Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology announcing the AKOBEN rating with support from Mr Daniel S. Amlalo, Acting Director of the EPA
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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it will soon issue a new regulation that will compel companies that fail to comply with environment laws of the country to pay financial penalties as part of plans to safeguard the environment.

EPA revealed this at a programme to disclose the environmental performance of operators in the mining and manufacturing sector.

Speaking in Accra at the function, Daniel S. Amlalo, Acting Director of the EPA stated that apart from the financial penalty, the Agency is also considering initiating other legal measures. Known as AKOBEN, the environmental performance rating uses five colours, red, orange, blue, green and gold to indicate a company’s compliance to the environmental requirements of the law.

AKOBEN rating is evaluated by analyzing more than one hundred performance indicators that include qualitative data as well as qualitative and visual information.

The red colour means a company has not fulfilled some legislative instrument requirement, which could create hazardous waste and discharges. An orange colour stands for a satisfactory rating, which means a company was not able to meet the regulatory standards for conventional pollutants, non-toxics and noise pollution while a blue colour gives a good rating showing adequate compliance with environmental standards.

The maiden edition generated uproar as most of the mining companies that were involved were not happy with their rating. A total of 50 manufacturing companies and 11 mining companies failed to secure excellent rating.

Only one company, Diamond Cement Limited at Aflao had a green rating while three others, Abosso Goldfields Limited, Damang Mine, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited –Kenyasi and ferro fabric Limited in Tema were graded orange.

However, Ghana Bauxite was the only company that declined to submit its monthly monitoring data to the EPA, which has been described as a serious violation of the national environmental law.

“We have seen significant improvement this year,” said Mr Amlalo, who was optimistic that with AKOBEN rating, the Agency stands a better chance to reduce pollution, increase compliance, reduce environmental risks, improve community relations and enhance public awareness.

In the coming years, he noted, the AKOBEN programme would be expanded to include more companies as well as operators in the hospitality industry and oil distribution companies.

Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, stated that the AKOBEN programme is a vital tool for good environmental governance and sustenance. “Indeed AKOBEN programme has now emerged as one of the first environmental rating and disclosure initiative in the world that combines environmental performance and corporate social responsibility in one unified rating system.”

The AKOBEN programme, she said, has emerged as an alternative or complementary approach to conventional regulation of pollution in most countries.
Source: Emelia Ennin Abbey/D-Guide

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