The Eastern Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Felix Addo-Okyireh, has appealed to the government to speed up work on rail transport to help reduce vehicular emissions in the country.
He stated that revamping the railway system would encourage many Ghanaians to patronize the trains, leaving most of their vehicles at home.
“If we are able to minimize the number of vehicular movements on our roads as a country, we will also be able to minimize drastically the vehicular emissions into the atmosphere, and the appeal is that the government will take up the reconstruction of the railway lines, especially from Accra to Kumasi,” he said.
Speaking at a workshop on Climate Change and Gender mainstreaming organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with the Eastern Regional Ghana Journalist Association (GJA)in Koforidua last Friday, Mr. Addo-Okyireh said: “The trains are able to convey a lot of people than the cars and buses and this would significantly reduce emissions into the atmosphere.”
Mr. Addo-Okyireh noted that one of the causes of climate change had been the emissions of exhaust fumes from the transportation systems, particularly from commercial buses and private vehicles.
He, therefore, said while efforts were being made to improve the transportation system, conscious measures should be put in place to curb vehicular emissions.
He particularly lamented the alarming rate at which there had been many vehicles on the roads, especially in Accra and Kumasi, where heavy traffic buildup had become the order of the day.
Mr. Addo-Okyirehalso expressed worry over the illegal construction of permanent buildings and other structures along railway lines across the country.
“If we have the future plans of reconstructing the railway lines, then we do not have to encourage permanent activities along the railway lines.
“The government must therefore take pragmatic efforts to revive our railway transportation and stop all these illegal activities,” he stated.
Dwelling on responsible consumption, the director cited Sustainable Development Goal 12 which he said called for responsible consumption and production.
To that effect, he called on Ghanaians and businesses to embrace sustainability in their daily activities and operations.
“As we all believe that we need to satisfy ourselves in today and also give room to future generation to also enjoy the facilities that have been given to us by God, whatever we are doing today we need to put sustainability at the forefront to avoid waste.
“We produce a lot of food but we spoil a lot of the food which in effect emit gases into the atmosphere. “So, if we need to reduce emissions, we need to be conscious of our consumption pattern and do so in a sustainable manner in order to meet SDG 12,” he said.
For his part, the Deputy Director in charge of Climate Change at EPA, DrAntwi-BosiakoAmoah said the workshop would enable the media to understand climate change issues and effectively play a watchdog role to impress on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to build resilience at the local assembly level.