The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), operating in the health sector has called on African governments to hold big polluters liable for the environmental crisis the continent is faced with.
According to WALD big polluting companies such as Shell and others should be made to atone for the harm and damage caused to our environment which has led to the fuelling climate crisis the world is currently witnessing.
VALD was of the opinion that such polluters must not to be allowed to self-regulate their activities as had been the case in most countries, rather they should be properly monitored and regulated by law to make them more responsible.
Addressing the media at a press conference held in Accra, the Programmes Director at VALD, Mr Labram Musah, threw his organization’s support behind the just launched “Liability Roadmap,” a global tool that outlines how local and global decision-makers could hold polluting industries liable for climate damage, reiterated that Ghana and other African nations should be bold to demand for climate justice.
According to him the environmental harm and damage being caused by those big polluters, including fossil fuel producers, plastic manufactures and coal miners, were “worse than the benefit they purport to bring to us”.
“We cannot take a further risk as the future of our planet is uncertain. Government across the world must priorities the adoption of the liability roadmap into their national development agendas,” VALD Programmes Director insisted.
“I’m happy that on the global front, earlier this year, the European Parliament held a hearing investigating Exxon’s attempt to mislead the public. The Philippine’s commission on human rights is considering the fossil fuel industry’s responsibility for human rights violations in connection to climate change. And in Peru, a famer is suing a German utility for its role in the crisis harming his livelihood. Equally in Nigeria, many Niger Delta communities have explored the litigation option in confronting Shell and oil multinationals for oil spills and other environmental infractions.” He said.
Mr Musah explained that with the emergence of oil field in Ghana, it behooved on state agents to follow and adhere to global best practices to ensure that present and future generations were protected from the devastating effects of the big polluters.
He further disclosed that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had predicted that from 2030 to 2050, certain effects of climate change would contribute to an increase of about 250,000 deaths per year from conditions such as heat stress, malnutrition, diarrhoea, and malaria.
Also, air pollution is known to be the world’s largest single environmental health risk, and a leading risk factor for non-communicable diseases, causing seven million deaths every year worldwide.
Mr Musah said in Ghana, however, skin diseases and associated ailments were being recorded in Agbogbloshie in the Greater Accra Region, with respiratory illnesses being the worst health problem.
He, therefore, called on the Government to ensure that activities that affected the health of the people were curtailed and the polluters made to own up to their responsibilities of solving the healthcare needs of the people.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH