The Management of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to sponsor the Best Environmental Journalist Award for the next three years.
The implementation of the sponsorship will commence at this year's GJA Awards slated for November 23rd and it is subject to renewal.
This was made known at a day's training held for selected editors, producers, presenters and other media personnel.
The training was held under the theme: "Demystifying Environmental Issues: The Role of the Media Editors."
And the participants were taken through various topics like Hazardous Waste Management, Environmental Quality Standards, Mining, Pesticides Management, Ozone, Climate Change, Natural Resources and Tree Felling and EPA Acts.
Mr John Pwamang, the Acting Executive Director of EPA, said the support being provided to the GJA was to motivate journalists to report more on the environment.
He said the Agency would engage the leaders of the GJA on the modalities and details of the support for the award.
He said as part of the support, EPA would also be training about 20 student journalists from the Ghana Institute of Journalism each year on environmental issues in the country.
Mr Pwamang said the Agency would create an open week for journalists each year to see at first hand their activities in terms of implementation and their enforcement activities.
He said over the years, the environmental issues did not have much attention in the media and this was worrying.
Mr Pwamang said issues like pollution of the water bodies, forest depletion, waste management and plastic management among others, did not get enough coverage in the media.
He said currently, the Agency has staffing challenges and expressed the hope that the situation would improve, adding that they needed to partner with the media in the effort to create more awareness on the protection of the environment.
Mr Affail Monney, the GJA President, commended the Management of EPA for the support to sponsor the Best Environment Journalist Award.
He said as journalists "we have a great responsibility to ensure that the environment is protected and safeguarded."
He said there were competing demands for state resources and there was the tendency for other demands like the 'One Village One Dam', 'One Village One Factory, Free Senior High School and roads among others to suffer.
"Because of the increasing demand on the state resources, there is the tendency to relegate the issues of the environment to the background," Mr Monney said.
The GJA President said issues of the environment needed to be brought to the front rows of the discussions to ensure an enhanced awareness creation effort.
He said the GJA has initiated a project on sanitation governance in partnership with the government, private sector and the media.
The Association alone, he said, could not do it and called on the media houses to support the 24 months campaign to protect the environment.
He called on journalists and media houses to use their power and influence to make the right impact on the environment.
Mr Monney said motivation is key to uplifting the capacity of the media in effectively reporting on issues that affect the society.
He urged the editors to revitalize their environmental desks in the various media houses and encourage specialization adding that "capacity is better placed for qualitative improvement in environmental reporting".