The former Deputy Director-General, Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research, has called on the government to build strong and efficient institutions to manage the country’s environmental challenges.

Prof Rose Entsua-Mensah said the country needs to strengthen local capacity and coordinate the overall environmental strategy and sustainable development for Ghana beyond Aid agenda.

The Professor made the call in Accra at a lecture held on the topic: “ Is Ghana on the Brink of Ecological Suicide”, organized by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

She said the country is blessed with a lot of natural resources but has failed in the effective utilization of these resources to optimize its full benefits for all.

She said it behoves on all to examine themselves dispassionately on the management of the country’s ecological system, adding that any imbalance on the environment can threaten the lives of the citizenry.

“The Sustainable Development Goals would be under threat in the country if unsustainable degradation practices are not addressed and the nation will head towards ecocide”, she added.

However, a country’s natural heritage is its environment and natural resources like gold and water.

Prof Entsua-Mensah said the country’s biodiversity is rapidly being degraded and being lost through the spread of invasive species, over-harvesting of flora and fauna, indiscriminate use of persistent practices and illegal mining activities.

Touching on the fishing industry, she said the sector constituted eight per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product GDP and it is imperative for authorities to manage the sector effectively to derive the needed gains for economic development.

The artisanal marine fisheries are the backbone of the fishing industry and contribute 73 per cent of the total marine fish landings annually.

She urged government to address the challenges associated in the artisanal fisheries sector including overfishing, human settlements and industrial developments, and Volta Lake tree harvesting for sustained growth.

She expressed concern about the rampant destruction on the environment, especially the practice of illegal mining in most of the country’s river basin, causing severe damage to the ecosystem.

Professor Entsua-Mensah said the activities of illegal mining has affected water bodies which is key to food security.

She mentioned chemical fertilizers and pesticides, chemicals from mining, and rapid population growth have left the country’s water resources ungovernable, stressing that high nutrients loads have led to blue-green algal blooms, cyanotoxins production with health implications to human and animal health.

In managing waste, the Professor called for the reduction, reuse and recycle waste for productive use.