Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology on Friday appealed to the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to enforce bye-laws that guard against environmental degradation. She said climate change and its associated global warming were development challenges, hence the need to halt bush burning, indiscriminate logging and other negative acts that affect the environment. Ms Ayittey made this appeal at the launch of the Volta Regional Plantation Development Programme christened “Greening Ghana”, at Gbefi in the Kpando District. On the theme: “Plant a Tree to Green Ghana,” the programme aims at restoring safe climatic conditions through tree planting and other greening activities. Twelve (12) women groups from the district under the auspices of Advocates for Gender and Development Initiative Ghana, a local development-oriented non-governmental organisation, have been selected to raise seedlings for large-scale planting on pilot basis under the programme. Ms Ayittey said her sector Ministry was convinced that “we have come to the point where we could not leave the protection and management of the environment to chance”, and have therefore revived and re-launched the national ‘Arbor Day’. The day instituted by one J. Sterling Morton for more than 135 years was meant for the planting of trees to protect the environment. She engendered the youth and social groups to join in the crusade to plant trees to ensure an environmentally sustainable economy. Ms Ayittey said the socio-economic benefits of trees could not be over-stated and called for private-public partnership to combat the effects of climate change. Ms Akua Sena Dansua, Minister of Tourism and Member of Parliament (MP) for North Dayi emphasised the symbiotic relationship between the environment and tourism development. She commended the women groups selected to be the pacesetters of the programme and urged others to follow suit. Ms Dansua noted that the area was becoming susceptible to bushfires, rainstorms and other environmental disasters resulting from the combined effects of human and climatic conditions in the last 50 years, saying the “time to act is now”. Mr Raymond Tawiah, MP for Yilo Krobo and Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Environment, Science and Technology warned of dire consequences of life without trees and called for “all hands on deck” towards growing of more trees. Colonel Cyril Necku (Rtd), Deputy Regional Minister said government was committed to reverse the dwindling forest resources and the wanton environmental degradation with damning consequences for generations yet unborn. He said the Regional Co-ordinating Council would play a leading role in the plantation development programme, and urged other stakeholders to contribute their quota to ensure its success. Mr Francis Ganyaglo, District Chief Executive said the area was experiencing the effects of negative environmental activities, which are exerting pressure on forests resources, water bodies, flora and fauna. He called for multi-agency approaches and cutting-edge strategies to stem the tide. Togbe Akom VIII, Fiaga of Gbefi, who presided over the programme pledged the support of the traditional area to “Greening Ghana”. Communities selected to benefit from the pilot programme are Tsoxor, New Adomi, Botoku, Kudzra, Wusuta, Aveme-Dzeme, Anfoega-Aveme-Denui, Awate-Agame, Bame, Gbefi, Dafor and Sabadu. They received implements including wheelbarrows, watering cans, Wellington boots, pick-axe as well as palm and mango seedlings.
Source: Ghana News Agency