EPA to prosecute hospitality facilities with expired permits.The Upper East Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Asher Nkegbe, has warned that some hospitality facilities will face prosecution and closure for operating with expired permits. He said that some facilities operate with expired permits that date to 2018 and warned that they should renew their permits immediately or face prosecution.
Mr. Nkegbe indicated that the EPA Act of 1994, Act 490 and Legislative Instrument of 1999, LI 1652 empower the EPA to issue permits to hospitality facilities and other undertakings to promote prudent environmental management.
He stated that such environmental permits are attached with conditions that direct the facilities and institutions to ensure proper waste management system, location and project specifications, noise and sanitation, occupational health and safety, environmental quality monitoring, annual environmental report among others to ensure safety of the public and compliance of the law.
He said, permits are renewable every 18 months and attract administrative punishment including suspension, cancellation or revocation of the permit or prosecution when breached.
The EPA Regional Director disclosed this during a Media Encounter on the sidelines of an inspection tour in the region, to ascertain the level of compliance of the hospitality facilities in the region.
He disclosed, ”13 facilities were operating with expired permits whiles one was operating without a permit.”
Most of these facilities he added are in the Bolgatanga Municipality and its environs with 11 facilities and two are also in the Bawku West District.
”The facilities were operating without valid permits which posed risks to the people who patronized them”, and urged them to as matter of urgency take steps to renew their permits.
The Regional Director noted that Act 490, 1994, had empowered the Agency with prosecutorial powers to prosecute facilities at fault, adding that “ignorance of the law is not an excuse”.
He said the EPA would intensify its regular monitoring and inspection exercise to ensure all facilities under the supervision of the EPA, complied with the laid down laws.
Mr. Opoku Sarfo, Legal Officer in charge of Northern Sector, EPA, noted that apart from the hospitality facilities, there were two quarry companies operating in the Talensi District with expired permits.
Their operations, he said, were high risk and posed health hazards to the public and warned that the EPA would soon clamp down on them if they do not take steps to regularise their operations.
Mr. Sarfo urged the public to report to the Agency any undertakings that pose danger to the safety and health of the people.