Ghana must quickly employ nature-based solutions to reduce impacts of climate change – Dr Kokofu

Social Environment Partnership
Social Environment Partnership

Dr Henry Kokofu, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) says Ghana must quickly employ nature-based solutions to reduce the impacts of climate change and increase climate change resilience.

He said nature-based solutions would help protect natural ecosystems from loss and degradation and support the building of a more sustainable economy and society.

Speaking at the launch of the Goodwill bamboo toilet paper and the partnership between the GoodRoll Foundation and Pro-Link, at Kasoa in the Central region on Thursday, Dr Kokofu noted that climate change, the biggest issue facing the world presently, was having a terrible effect on all living things.

He said the climate crises impacted every aspect of life, and thus, the launch of the bamboo toilet paper, would support efforts at improving the forest cover.

“This initiative aligns very well with four of the Sustainable Development Goal, which are industry, innovation and infrastructure, Goal 9, sustainable cities and communities, Goal 11, climate action, Goal 13 and partnership for the goals, Goal 17,” he said.

Dr Kokofu mentioned that bamboo was a renewable resource with amazing growth rate, which absorbed greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

He said bamboo was a very versatile plant, renewable and easy to grow, and the launch of the toilet paper was an example of how the plant could be used to address many societal concerns.

Dr Kokofu urged citizens to develop plans and strategies for the development of a net-zero greenhouse emission society and plant more bamboo to lessen the logging of trees and reduction of the forest cover.

Dr Bernice Adiku-Heloo, Technical Advisor and Founder, Pro-Link stated that the country needed to find sustainable way to address the climate change problem.

She was not happy that Ghana still imported paper and paper products, saying that the launch of the bamboo toilet paper ought to be the beginning of addressing the climate crisis in the country.

Dr Adiku-Heloo was optimistic that the partnership with GoodRoll Foundation would go a long way to address some of the socio-economic challenges related to climate change.

“This partnership is important and will be sustained for the benefit of all. Although most new things are not readily acceptable by people, we believe that with education and involvement of all, the product will be acceptable because of its benefits,” she said.

Dr Adiku-Heloo called for government support and community involvement to make the initiative sustainable and to reach all groups of people across the country.

Mr Emmanuel D. Adiku, Ag. Head of Programmes Pro-Link said both entities had become allies in the fight against climate change and its impact by bringing socio-economic and livelihood development programmes to communities.

He said the partnership was sustaining the environment through the introduction of bamboo farming and bamboo toilet paper.

Mr Adiku referred to the 2021 Population and Housing Census, which indicated that 17.7 per cent representing about 5.5 million Ghanaians still practised open defecation, and said the partnership was keen on drastically reducing the practice by building more toilet facilities in communities where the habit was prevalent.

“We are committed to using our vast experience to make this partnership a success and will develop a comprehensive proposal to elicit for funds in the delivery of both organization’s social service agenda, and rollout socio-economic development programs to bring good hygiene care and toilet facilities in communities and schools,” he said.

Mr Adiku said they would leverage on their presence in 10 regions to mobilise interested farmers into considering bamboo farming, empower women, girls and marginalized groups and build their capacity to be gainfully employed and promote sexual and reproductive health and hygiene care among women, and adolescent girls.

“Together with the GoodRoll Foundation, we will bring socio-economic development to our communities, reduce carbon emission, create jobs, promote hygiene, reduce open defaecation, and build sustainable communities,” he added.

Mr Mohammed Sani Adjei, Finance and Administrative Manager, GoodRoll Foundation said bamboo had enormous potential for long-term carbon absorption and could become an important part of Ghana’s carbon emission balancing efforts.
He said the foundation since its establishment in 2022, produces 120,000 daily for supplies to the Netherlands and across the country.

Mr Adjei said “the visible difference between our bamboo toilet paper and that on the market is the colour which is brown. We do not add any chemical to keep it in its natural state.”

“We have positioned ourselves very well to have reliable supplies of raw material by engaging other stakeholders to provide us with the bamboo seedling to give to the farmers to replant after harvesting.”

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