21 February 2014

Ghana: MLNR Sensitises Public On Environmental Degradation

press release

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in conjunction with the Twifo Atti-Morkwa District Assembly in Central region has embarked on a two day sensitization programme against environmental degradation.

Officials of the Ministry highlighted the negative effects of illegal mining popularly known as "galamsey", bushfire and illegal chainsaw activities on our forest resources and water bodies. They also called for the support of all stakeholders and the general public to reverse the growing degradation of natural resources.

The two day programme started with a film show the night preceding the event. The film showed how water bodies and forest resources looked like in the past before the introduction of illegal mining and chainsaw activities. It then went on to show the effects of these activities on water bodies, forest and the individual person as a whole. The film finally educated the public on how to prevent these activities.

Nana Kojo Amponsah, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources designated Greening Ghana Ambassador undertook a walk from Cape Coast to Twifo Praso in support of the special outreach programme. He was met with brass band music and a procession of school children and some operatives in the illegal mining through the principal streets of the town.

Nana Amponsah who used three days to complete the 77 kilometre journey from the Central regional capital educated communities along the road on the dangers of environmental degradation.

Nana Kwesi Kenin IV, the Paramount Chief of Twifo Atti Morkwa Traditional area in his welcome address said, "If we don't pray our forest and water bodies would be destroyed by galamsey and illegal chainsaw operators". Mr Oduro Biney, The Regional Manager of Forestry Commission said forest resources contributed greatly to rural livelihood and to the national economy of Ghana. The forest sector, contributed about 6% of the country's gross domestic product, employed about 100,000 people and provided direct and indirect livelihood to about 2.5million people in the country. However, he said, the rainforest in Ghana had experienced rapid depletion due to various human activities such as logging, illegal chain sawing, charcoal burning, farming, bush fires, surface mining and urbanization.

Mr Biney said the protection of the nation's forest was a collective responsibility of every Ghanaian. He therefore charged every citizen to be a guardian of the remaining trees protect them and be inspired and encouraged to plant trees. "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall ever sit under," he added.

Mr Eric Bukari, a representative from Minerals Commission said it was not a secret that Ghana was endowed with abundant minerals resources of all kinds including gold and diamonds. "These resources can only be beneficial when it was explored and exploited in an environmentally friendly manner," he said.

He emphasised that mining was strictly forbidden on water bodies. "These activities are prevalent within this district, occurring as dredging on the Pra River," he added. He then talked about the effort taken by the government to stop illegal mining. Mr Bukari then took the public through the processes of obtaining a small scale mining license.

He appealed to traditional authorities that instead of halting all mining activities including dredging on the river Pra for few weeks in order for them to perform traditional rites, they should rather stop it indefinitely.

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