Accra, Feb. 12, GNA - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has presented a laptop with its accessories, and an undisclosed amount of cash to the Ghana Journalists Association's (GJA) 2020 Best Journalist in Environmental Reporting.
Mr Mohammed Fugu of Daily Graphic was adjudged the Best Journalist in Environmental Reporting at the 25th GJA Awards ceremony for his report titled: “Shea Trees ‘Fight’ for Survival, Massively felled for Charcoal in Savannah Ecological Zone.”
Mr Fugu received the items at a short ceremony held in Accra on Friday, in fulfillment of a three-year pact between the Agency and GJA.
The agreement, among others, seeks to train and encourage journalists to create greater awareness on environmental issues towards promoting sustainable national development and the well-being of citizens in a healthy environment.
Presenting the package to the journalist, Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, the Executive Director of the EPA, commended Mr Fugu for his feat, and the media in general for their role in trumpeting issues of environmental degradation.
He noted that despite the numerous efforts to battle environmental challenges, the canker still persisted, stressing the need for continuous education of the public, adding that this was achievable.
“These challenges are surmountable. What is required of us are love for the nation, appreciation of nature of the environment, commitment to do what is right and who is championing the cause. It is incumbent on all of us,” he said.
Dr Kokofu said, as an Agency, it would continue to play a lead role in addressing environmental challenges by providing leadership, to ensure its protection for generations yet unborn.
He reiterated the Agency’s committed to supporting journalists in numerous ways to discharge their duties effectively and efficiently in the national interest, emphasizing that the Agency’s continuous sponsoring of the GJA’s awards showed its commitment.
Ghana's environmental challenges include the pollution of water bodies and the air, depletion of forest resources, land degradation, improper waste and plastic management, illegal mining and fishing.
Mr Affail Monney, President of GJA urged the awardee to let this spur him on towards a higher pedestal.
He also called on journalists to ensure that they discharged their duties with diligence and hard work, saying; it pays to do quality work, it pays to show fidelity and competence in whatever you do.”
Mr Fugu, on his part, expressed appreciation to the Management of the EPA and the leadership of the GJA for recognising his efforts, which, he said, started in 2018.
He said his passion for reporting on the Environment was motivated by the level of degradation that had taken place in the Savannah Ecological zone.
He said the report had resulted in a number of changes including the arrest and prosecution of 15 people who were then cutting down shea trees for charcoal burning and a ban on tampering with the shea trees by the traditional authorities.
Mr Fugu stressed that the award would therefore motivate him to put in more efforts to bring to the fore issues affecting the environment for redress.
He urged the people to be cautious of their activities because the region was already battling massive effects of climate change.
Present at the event were officials of the EPA, including Mr Ebenezer Appah-Sampong, the Deputy Executive Director in charge of Technical Work, Mrs Irene Amankwah, Director of Operations and Mrs Angelina Mensah, Corporate Affairs Director.
Also present was Mrs Audrey Dekalu, Treasurer, GJA.
The EPA in August, 2019 signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the GJA to sponsor the Best Environmental Journalist Award for a period of three years.
Mr Fugu becomes the second environmental journalist to receive the reward from the EPA after Mr Albert Oppong-Ansah of the Ghana News Agency received same in 2019.