The Department of Parks and Gardens yesterday received some pieces of equipment from its sector ministry, the Ministry for Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development (MLGDRD), to augment the existing equipment to facilitate its revitalisation.
The equipment included computers, mowing machines, drive mowers, chainsaw machines, grass cutters, Polytank-branded water containers and aluminum ladders as well as a tipper truck, two KIA trucks fitted with water tanks and pumping machines, a 4×4 Toyota Land Cruiser Prado car, a 4×4 Nissan single-cabin pickup and 14 motorcycles.
The Ghanaian Times hails this donation as it comes into sort of remind the general public, particularly majority of the youth, of the existence of an entity called Department of Parks and Gardens.
It is unfortunate that an entity established by President Kwame Nkrumah in 1961 as a whole Ministry under a Cabinet Minister should be reduced to a department with its visibility having drastically diminished over the years.
However, this is a very important organization put together to be responsible for the development of the nation's landscape and the preservation and beautification of the environment.
Specifically, the Department's activities include promoting landscape beautification of built and natural environment and collaborating with MMDAs to develop programmes for floral beautification of cities and towns; acquiring lands to establish public parks and promote ecotourism to generate revenue for Assemblies and jobs for the youth; pursuing actions to combat the effects of global warming by promoting a national tree planting campaign involving all stakeholders; and collaborating with the Botany Department of the University of Ghana and other stakeholders to document the country's flora, to develop and maintain a national information facility for sharing digital biodiversity data.
While presenting the donation to officials of the Department, the Deputy Minister of MLDGRD),Mr Martin Adjei Mensah-Korsah, said the mandate of the Department also includes maintenance of road medians.
Unfortunately, as it is, other public organisations and their officials keep vandalizing the spaces for the Department to show its functions or potential to the public.
For instance, the place where the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and other structures stand at Kimbu in Accra used to be a space for the Department to tend.
In 2020, Eco-Conscious Citizens Ghana, an environmentally-concerned organization, had to protest the re-zoning of Parks and Gardens land at Cantoments in Accra for the MLDRD to build an office block on.
Earlier 150 trees and 5000 plants on the land had been destroyed in 2019without permission from the Environmental Protection Agency.
It later came out that in 2016, the Lands Commission released2.2 acres of Parks and Gardens land to a private developer to build an office complex on.
One can also make reference to unbridled encroachment on the Achimota Forest and other demarcated green areas in the country.
It should be noted that vandalizing the preserved green environment has debilitating effects on the environment and so if nothing is done to stem that, over time, the country would suffer enormous environmental damage and Parks and Gardens would appear as an inefficient department.
Back to the donation of the equipment once again, the Ghanaian Times would say it is timely because anyone who has visited any Parks and Gardens office premises would agree that it is a distressed entity whose officials are working under very harsh conditions.
This is because successive political administrations have been shortchanging them in their budget allocations.
For instance, in 2010, their budget allocation was GHC 241,246.00 but was given only GHC 82,116.87; GHC176,722.00 for 2011 but GHC66,339.69 was provided; GHC233,761.48 for 2012 but GHC104,196.62 was released with a paltry GHC238,979.85 offered out of GHC1,750,000.00 estimated for 2013.
This means out of a total of GHC2,401,729.48 for the five years, only GHC491,633.03 was released, which was an insignificant 20.5 percent.