Group tasks Forestry Commission to protect water bodies, forests

Forestry Commission
Forestry Commission

An environmental civil society group has called on Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie, the Chief Executive Forestry Commission, to protect Ghana’s forests and waters for use by the present and future generations in order to save Mother Earth from ecological devastation and the debilitating effects of climate change.

In a press release dated 19 March, Eco-Conscious Citizens GH stated that the group has dispatched a letter to Mr. Owusu Afriyie in Accra asking the Commission to protect Ghana’s natural resources like water bodies and forests. This was done ahead of World Forest Day, which falls on 21st March.

International Day of Forests is set aside by the United Nations (UN) to raise public awareness about the important role that all types of forest and trees outside forest zones play in lives of all human beings.

The global theme for the celebration of this year’s day is: ‘Forests and Biodiversity.’ The UN, however, allows member states to adapt the date of the celebration of the International Day of Forests to suit their peculiar circumstances. The UN also permits its members to localize the theme based on the international one.

Eco-Conscious Citizens GH asked the Chief Executive to indicate the challenges that the Commission faces so that it can work together with it to protect Ghana’s forests from further destruction.

Awula Serwah, the co-ordinator of Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, said: “The vision of the Forestry Commission is to ‘Leave future generations and their communities with richer, better, more valuable forests and wildlife endowments than we inherited’. This will not happen if we continue destroying our forest reserves.”

The group said it is of concern that the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has warned that should illegal mining menace persist in the Western Region, the residents would not have treated water to drink and use for domestic purposes. “We have to act now to protect our forests and waters,” the group stressed.

Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, therefore, urged the Forestry Commission to protect the forests from illegal mining and logging. “Protect Atewa Forest Reserve from bauxite mining. Stop entry permits from being issued to gold speculators who destroy our forest reserves,” it noted.

The group added: “The President of Ghana has asked us to be active citizens and not spectators, and section 41(k) of the 1992 Constitution states that: ‘…it shall be the duty of every citizen to protect and safeguard the environment.’

Eco-Conscious Citizens GH, therefore, invited concerned Ghanaians and “environmental stakeholders anywhere” to tweet President @NAkufoAddo, to please #ProtectOurForestsAndWaters on Saturday 21st March.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, in collaboration with the Forestry Commission and other stakeholders, has stated that it would celebrate the International Day of Forests on 11-15 May.

A statement issued by Mr. Owusu Afriyie indicated that the 2020 celebration of International Day of Forests, the ninth since its beginning, would be observed on the theme: ‘Protect Forests and Biodiversity for Human Survival.’

The theme was chosen because Ghana’s forests are under various forms of threats such as illegal farming and use of forest and game reserves, logging, lumbering, wildfires, overgrazing, fuel wood extraction and illegal mining.

“Forest is the repository of biodiversity, so any threat to the forest is a threat to biodiversity. Thus, a threat to the plethora of life forms found in forests – micro-organisms, animals, plants, food and shelter to animals and insects that constitute the biodiversity. There is therefore, the urgent need for all to get involved in protecting the forest and their biodiversity components,” the statement said.

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  1. The Global shutdown offers a unique opportunity to rethink everything, let us not squander it.
    Forest reserves play a cardinal role in providing a healthy environment which is crucial for our health. We trust the President will use this unique opportunity to press the “reset button”. We can and should develop a Green Economy and prioritise people’s welfare, education and health.

  2. The UN Environment Program states that a green economic model “promotes a development path that understands natural capital as a critical economic asset and a source of public benefits, especially for poor people whose livelihoods depend on natural resources.”

    How can we lose ‘critical economic’ assets such as our natural forest reserves? What will happen?
    Well, scientists warn against deforestation, explaining the results include:
    -Soil erosion destruction. Soils (and the nutrients in them) are exposed to the sun’s heat. …
    -Change of the Water Cycle. When forests are destroyed, the atmosphere, water bodies, and the water table are all affected. …
    -Loss of Biodiversity. We destroy the delicate balance of life in our environment.
    -Climate Change: we kill the lungs of our planet, and sign our own death certificate.

    It is not too late to embrace the future and adopt a greener economy, and our leaders are wise enough to realize this. We will play our part to make a success of this new path.

  3. Ghana will be celebrating International Day of Forests in May. We might be recovering from the Global shutdown by then. The Pandemic should be a wakeup call reminding us that business as usual is not an option. We need to value the Forest Reserves we still have and treat them as the precious resource they are. Environmental Vandalism in the name of progress and development needs to stop. Water is a precious resource dependent on trees. This is a time to look at Green Industries and weigh this against old destructive mining industries. Hope Forestry Commission works with Civil Society to transform the way we use our Forest Reserves and think about our future. Time is running out

  4. Resting the world through Coronavirus pandemic gives us an excellent opportunity to reassess our behaviour as human beings. Destroying the founts of living and life for the sake of materialistic wealth means nothing without a healthy population. Extracting for the sake of enriching few and jeopardising the many is criminal. Let us protect our eco systems and water bodies as a nation. Water is a necessity of life. Let us not destroy our forests and water bodies. Let us preserve, enhance and add value not destruction to the beauty of creation.

  5. It’s very important that the forests and water bodies are protected. Climate change is no joke and i would hope the government would also recognise this, and be serious about protecting the assets we have

  6. I would want to think that our President is under some pressure of sorts to contemplate such a thing as we hear about ‘Atewa.’
    He is highly educated and intelligent and does not need lectures on the eco-system and how harmful to our country any ‘bauxite-digging’ in Atewa(or elsewhere) will do to our heritage!
    I would want to believe he will put Ghana;Atewa first and shame his critics.

  7. Your Excellency, President Nana Akufo-Addo, thank you for the leadership over the Covid-19 Pandemic. Your Tweet about focusing on saving people rather than the economy has been positively received internationally. The Corona SARS-COV-2 virus has highlighted the importance of water to our survival. We are being asked to wash our hands. 5 million people will be unable to access clean water if we destroy water sources. Your Excellency we urge you to use your good offices to stop bauxite mining in the Atewa Forest as it will pollute the source of water of over 5 million Ghanaians. #protectourforestsandwaters

  8. The forestry commission is not only about trees. Water bodies,soil(land) and even life,all these things have a connection with each other.For example;there cannot be life without trees,trees without water and no water without soil or land.forests also means nature,and right now all these things are treathend not only because of covid 19 but because we as humans, the so called most intelligent spices on earth.We call our selves the guardians of the planet.

    However we show no interest in it.I urge the government to take action,to set an example that the whole world will follow.


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