A Professor at the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies at the University of Ghana has stated that the country has lost more than GH₵36 billion (US$6.3 billion) to environmental degradation.
Professor Chris Gordon revealed that analysis by the World Bank on the stage of the country’s environmental degradation underestimated the cost of the problem.
“It is a significant underestimate if you look at the document. At the launch, World Bank experts themselves said they did not capture the entire cost of the degradation. That $36 billion you are talking about, it could be actually double the amount,” he said, Wednesday.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, he said people are in more ways than one, engaged in activities that threaten the sanctity of the environment.
“We are destroying our forests, collecting sand from the beaches, the scourge of galamsey, the use of terribly over-aged vehicles on our roads, the fact that we use bio-mass i.e. firewood in very inefficient ways, you name it, we are doing it”.
His comments come after the latest Country Environmental Analysis by the World Bank which revealed that environmental degradation costs the nation $6.3billion or nearly 11 percent of the country’s 2017 Gross Domestic Product.
The report which is part of the Bretton Wood’s institution diagnostic study on the economy revealed that non-renewable resources such as gold and oil cannot sustain growth as resources deplete, while renewable resources like cocoa, timber, and other tree and food crops, depend on good environmental stewardship.
The Professor noted that the natural capital of the nation which has aided development over the years is being exploited in various inefficient ways.
He cited the activities of illegal mining (galamsey), illegal sand winning and indiscriminate felling of trees for building purposes as a major canker.
The environment and sanitation expert argued that although there are very good policies and frameworks instituted against this, the issue of financing enforcement remains a problem.
“The EPA has to operate on internally generated funds. How can they properly supervise and manage a whole nation if they have to be looking for their own money to do that task,” he quizzed.
Ghana has been grappling with challenges of water pollution, land degradation due to illegal mining activities among others.
In his 2016 manifesto, before he was voted as President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo promised to make Ghana the cleanest in Africa by 2020.
This was faced by a lot of criticism by experts in hygiene who said it wasn’t feasible.
However, in August 2020, Sanitation Minister Cecilia Abena Dapaah said government’s promise to make Accra the cleanest city in Africa by 2020 is 85% complete.