extent that it costs about five, six, seven times as much to treat those waters for human consumption than they would have cost. The cost to the economy is enormous; the Densu River, for example, Madam Speaker, almost gone. The lagoons and all these waters within the country are almost all dead. So what is going to happen is that, at the end of the day, we are going to run ourselves into major problems.
Madam Speaker, talking about the environment, the degradation of the environment is as a result of our own actions and maybe, inactions too. Madam Speaker, it cannot be the case that in the 21st Century, we have people using what we call "flying toilets". Madam Speaker, defecating into black polythene bag and just throwing it over the fence wall. Where does it land and where does it go? These are the issues that we must ask ourselves.
Madam Speaker, I dared to propose about three, four years ago, that we should ban the use of even plastics. Madam Speaker, I went to look personally --- I was interested to see ZOOMLION trying to desalinate, take out the sand from the Odaw River. Madam Speaker, there was no sand; it was all plastic. Plastic, which we are told by the experts, would take in excess of 100 years to disintegrate. In some countries, Madam Speaker, at least, Tanzania and a few others, they have banned the use of plastic; and until we ban it, we would run ourselves into major problems. The water bodies are dying as a result of all these plastics from what they call "safe water" or something - and also the use of these black plastics even to carry cash. Madam Speaker, why should we go to the banks, withdraw money, and it is put
in a plastic bag? It can easily be put in an envelope, which is biodegradable. Madam Speaker, so, the action in confronting these difficulties is what is contributing to the situation that we find ourselves in.
Madam Speaker, I believe that the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology is one of the Ministries that in contemporary livelihood, we must give attention to, in our present situation. But Madam Speaker, it looks as if the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology is not most of the time - in our own Government, was not even of a Cabinet status. Therefore, people look at it as subvention to the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the few other institution and Madam Speaker, that is what it was left at.
But I believe it is one of the major Ministries that we must pay attention to, that we must give the necessary resources to, to work to protect the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a few of these agencies that exist, are also not empowered, they do not have the means, the wherewithal to regulate the environment.
Madam Speaker, we must have the fundamental change in our attitudes to our environment. We must appreciate and understand that we are suffocating and killing ourselves slowly.
Madam Speaker, it is important that the educational process be given the utmost priority by the governmental apparatus, by NGOs and by Parliament itself. Madam Speaker, I dare say, and so therefore, on this occasion, it is my pleasure to support the Statement made by the Hon Member for Techiman North and to say that it is a welcome Statement and we need to refer this Statement to the Minister and to the Government, to the President. I dare say, and encourage him to move in the direction of protecting the environment.