EPA Begins Implementing Environment Enhancement Plan

The Upper East Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Ghana Environmental Management Project (GEMP) has established District Environmental Management Committees (DEMCs) in the region's nine districts to monitor, coordinate the protection and general enhancement activities on the environment. The DEMCs would be in charge of all natural resource management issues including draught combat and desertification in their respective districts. Mrs. Zenabu Wasai-King, Regional Director, EPA, speaking at a meeting of the Regional Environmental Management Committee (REMC), said each district would select two communities that would deliberate and choose projects that would improve the environment. They would then write proposals for funding to execute those projects. The committees are responsible for the creation of community environmental management committees, formulate strategies for creating environmental awareness within the districts, identify environmental problems within the district that require attention and recommend necessary action to the district assemblies and review and update bye-laws and regulations for the maintenance of a sound environment. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is funding the five year GEMP programme to rejuvenate the vegetation cover and check desertification in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern Regions. The programme also aims at strengthening institutions and rural communities to enable them reverse land degradation and desertification trends in the three regions. It will help the communities adopt sustainable water and land management systems that would improve food security and reduce poverty. Mr. Samuel N'lary, Regional Chief Coordinating Director and Chairman of the REMC, noted that bush burning and indiscriminate tree felling were major debilitating factors of the deteriorating environment in the region and suggested that the communities gave those areas priority. He urged members of the REMC and DEMCs to take their roles seriously and guide and support the people through activities that would improve the environment. Mr. N'lary called on the communities not to waste too much time but immediately get to work and write proposals for the activities they would like to undertake to improve the vegetation and soils in their respective areas.