Monday, June 8, 2015

"We’re all responsible for Accra floods" – Minister of Environment, Mahama Ayariga




Minister of Environment, Mahama Ayariga has said all Ghanaians including the political class must honestly accept responsibility for the devastating floods which hit Accra on Wednesday.

“We have to be honest and frank at this stage. At this time, I will say that all of us have not done what we should have done to get things to work… so I will say that all of us have failed,” he said on Citi FM’s The Big Issue.

The Environment Minister was of the view that blaming politicians for the tragedy is unfair.

Although he admitted that the onus lies on the leaders of the nation to take drastic measures to plan and protect the city, public behaviour also largely contributed to the problem.

He explained saying, “when I listen to people blame each other, I think that all of them are right. The political establishment hasn’t done what we ought to have done, the local government authorities who are also part of the political establishment haven’t done what they had to do and the law enforcement agencies honestly have also failed us.”

“Equally important is the land owners themselves also haven’t done what they ought to do and indeed, ordinary people who have had to take decisions, where to site a building, etc may not have been diligent as they ought to be or they have been too desperate about where to site and have a decent place to live that they have been driven to do the wrong things…”


Planners to meet on Monday

Mahama Ayariga disclosed that government will meet all relevant stakeholders on Monday to look at the strategic plans that were developed for the Greater Accra Metropolitan area as far back as 1991.

He said some of the plans which were developed more than a decade ago to outline all the drainage issues area have not been implemented.

I have actually requested a meeting on Monday afternoon with all the other sector Ministries and agencies and our development partners because if you look at the plan, almost everybody has a role to play to make the plan work. It’s not just the city authorities.

The Minister was optimistic that the meeting will help authorities have first hand information on how to address the perennial flooding in the city.

The stakeholders include officials from the Town and Country Planning, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the planning officers at the ACCAR Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Town and Country Planning Department under the Ministry of Environment.

Ayariga disclosed that after an initial meeting with these officers, they said the nation’s capital suffers during every rainy season due to poor planning.

A somber looking Ayariga acknowledged that government and other public officers “have failed to implement plans, we have failed to update existing plans, we have failed to manage activities properly in our cities and so when you fail in this regard, these are some of the consequences that will be visited on us.”



By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana