Samuel Afari Dartey, Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission of Ghana, has entreated the public to engage in afforestation activities to help salvage the environment from further degradation.
Mr Afari Dartey made the call, when he addressed participants at the launch of the fifth edition of Forestry Week and Greening Ghana Day celebration held at the Sakumono Ramsar site in Tema on Monday the 23 of May 2016.
In his address, he stated that the theme for the year’s weeklong celebration, ‘Forests and Water for Sustaining Lives and Livelihoods’, was chosen to raise awareness on the multiple links between forests, water sources, human lives and livelihoods, which he said are interdependent hence the need to give it all the necessary attention.
He noted that many forest reserves in the country were essentially created and earmarked to protect river and stream catchment areas from the vagaries of the weather, however certain environmentally unfriendly practices such as illegal logging over a long period has had an adverse effect on the water bodies resultant in the acute water shortage that was recently experienced in most parts the country.
He reiterated the need for planting more trees while protecting the forest reserves in the country to ensure sustenance of the environment and human life at large, imploring the general public to help in the fight against practices that undermine the environment.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Hon. Nii Osah Mills, who was present at the ceremony also admonished the public to desist from activities that do not augur well for the environment, especially the two resources (forest reserves and water bodies) on which wildlife, aquatic and human lives are largely dependent.
He expressed concern over the continuous degradation of the forests, saying it has over the years, had devastating effects on water supply as well as rainfall patterns in the country. He added that unlike few decades past, the country in recent times does not have rivers that flow all year round, with some drying up totally due to the destruction of vegetation in the water catchment areas as well as siltation of the riverbeds as a result of excessive erosion.
Honorable Nii Osah Mills bemoaned the alarming rate of human-induced ruination of the Atewa range forest reserve, which he stated is the headwaters of three important rivers (Densu, Ayensu and Birim) from which Accra gets about 70% of its water supply.
He warned that without pragmatic measures being taken to reverse the menace, the country would run into serious troubles with water supply together with several other consequences in the not so distant future.
Written by Clifford Frimpong