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HomeNewsEnvironmental Protection Bill 2023 advances to second reading in Parliament

Environmental Protection Bill 2023 advances to second reading in Parliament

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By Edzorna Francis Mensah

Parliament on Tuesday, 20th February, at the ninth sitting of the first meeting of the fourth session of the eighth parliament of the Fourth Republic has taken the Environmental Protection Bill, 2023 through the second reading.

The Bill, when passed will provide a legal framework for coordinated efforts to address all environmental protection issues in the country. This Bill will consolidate the various dispersed Environmental Acts; the Environmental Protection Act, 1994 (490), The Pesticides Control and Management Act, 1996 (Act 528) and the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act (917) under one Act

The Bill seeks to establish the Environmental Protection Authority to regulate, protect, and exercise general oversight and co-ordination over all matters relating to the environment and climate change. The Bill re-enacts the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490) and introduces a Pesticides Management Fund. The Bill also re-enacts the Hazardous and Electronic Waste Control and Management Act, 2016 (Act 917) for the purpose of consolidation.

The Bill further makes provision for the implementation of actions that position Ghana to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The bill is divided into six main parts. Part 1 of the Bill relates to environmental protection and the establishment of the Environmental Protection Authority while part 2 deals with pesticide control and management. Part 3 makes provision for matters relating to hazardous waste and other waste with part 4 focusing on electrical and electronic waste.

Part Five deals with matters on Climate Change to climate resilience and low-emission development in the future. Given the multi-sectoral nature of climate change, and having regard to the fact that the EPA is the focal institution for climate change, there is the need to adequately position the EPA to co-ordinate the all activities relating to the environment and the implementation of climate change response at all levels

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490) was enacted twenty-nine years ago to regulate matters that affect the environment and to coordinate the activities of bodies that deal with the practical and technical aspects of the environment.

Prior to the enactment of Act 490, the EPA was previously established by the Environmental Protection Council Decree, 1974 (N.R.C.D. 239) as the Environmental Protection Council. The Council advised the government on environmental matters without any enforcement powers. With the enactment of Act 490 in 1994, the Council transitioned into an Agency with regulatory powers.

Act 490 mandated the Agency to advise the Minister, coordinate, regulate, control, collaborate, educate, promote studies and research on the environment as well as investigate and promote effective planning in the management of the environment. In exercising this mandate, the Agency has been confronted with several challenges particularly in view of the fragmented environmental protection management provisions in other enactments across other sectors and the complex emerging environmental challenges, among others.

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