The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) together with its key allies has observed with deep concern the alarming and rampant death of whales in Ghana. A total of 20 dead whales have been washed ashore since 2009 when oil exploration began at the Western region of Ghana. The last one which happened on Wednesday October 30, 2013, brings to nine (9) the number of whales that have been washed ashore in just under two months.
While environmental groups and campaigners have consistently raised this issue in both the public and media domains and called for an immediate action on these disturbing occurrences, government regulatory bodies and authorities such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation (MESTI) and the Fisheries Commission have done little to address these concerns.
The EPA in particularly have denied the linkage of the death of whales to the oil exploration going on at the Western region without any formal investigations into the cause of death of the mammals. We at GYEM are greatly disheartened by the silence displayed by these regulatory agencies.
At GYEM, our discomfort about the inaction of these regulatory agencies stems from the following questions and concerns;
a. What is the actual cause of death of the whales and why have they numerously occurred at the Western region within the past four (4) years, within the same period Ghana began oil exploration?
b. What can this trend of occurrence tell us about the safety of general ocean lives and the impact it has on our food chain? What is going on in the sea that we are unaware of and what threat do they pose to human livelihood and the marine ecosystem?
c. How are communities along the coast dealing with the environmental and health risks of dead whales washed ashore?
In the light of this, the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) is calling on the appropriate governmental agencies— The EPA, Fisheries Commission and the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation to as a matter of urgency;
1. Conduct rigorous investigations into the indiscriminate death of whales and make their findings public for all and sundry; and
2. Draw up mitigation measures and implement government regulations to curtail this unfortunate phenomenon.
While awaiting government’s response, Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) will continue with this campaign with our whale mascot in both media and public domains to ensure that the whales and all ocean lives are protected and above all, most importantly, our environment is preserved and conserved.
(Photo credit: Friends of the Nation)
By Steering Group (GYEM)
Tel: 0264 760399/ 0544 744922 / 0244 951 828
Cc: Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoE)
Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)