By Stephen Asante,
Kumasi, April 20, GNA - A retired military officer has called for strong support for the government’s push to end the destruction of the environment through the activities of illegal miners.
Major Mohammed Bogobiri, addressing a press conference in Kumasi, said all must take responsibility and find space to contribute to the protection of the environment.
He said it should not be lost on anybody the dire consequences for the nation’s biodiversity if the pollution of water bodies and degradation of the forest continued unchecked.
It is estimated that about 75 per cent of streams and rivers had been polluted by the operation of the illegal miners, resulting in the destruction of many aquatic species.
Major Bogobiri called for harsher punishment for those caught engaged in the unlawful activity.
He again asked that security check-points were set up in the mining areas and the scale up of security patrols in such places.
He added that the youth in these places were provided with alternative livelihood to discourage them from engaging in the illegality.
He also appealed to the government to provide the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with everything it needed to effectively perform its mandate.
The Agency, he noted had critical role to play, to rein in those doing the wrong things to harm the environment.
It should therefore be supported with logistics - vehicles and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) devices, to monitor any bad practices and to bring the offenders to book.
Major Bogobiri said he found it deeply worrying that the EPA was poorly equipped, something that was making it difficult to efficiently carry out its duty.
That, he said, needed to change to enable the Agency to live up to expectation.