Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), said despite technological advancement man still depends on nature for survival.
“We are completely dependent on a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for our health, water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy,” he said.
“It, therefore, becomes a crucial responsibility not to damage it with activities including land degradation, pollution and deforestation,” he said.
Speaking at the Civil Service Week, hosted on a webinar, Prof Frimpong-Boateng said nature contributed to local livelihoods and economic development, and was essential for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The celebration is on the theme: “Civil Service and Private Sector Synergy: A National Development Imperative”.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng said: “The oceans, for instance, play a major role in temperature and climate regulation due to the great heat capacity of water. Nature also creates many different jobs for various professions, from farmers to herbal medicine practitioners, manufacturers of beauty products and tour guides.”
He said the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic had offered humans the opportunity to preserve, conserve and utilise natural resources for socio-economic development.
He urged the citizenry to stop practices such as indiscrete cutting of trees, building on waterways, open burning, improper disposal of plastics, open defecation, inappropriate use of chemicals, sand winning, and marine pollution to protect the environment.
Dr Edward Yeboah, a Deputy Director at the Soil Research Institute of the Council for Scientific Industrial Research, said there was evidence that the country continued to lose its natural resources through over exploitation and degradation.
He said land degradation was caused by activities such as overgrazing, heavy logging, fuel wood harvesting, mining, wildfire, slash and burn agriculture, and that these, coupled with deforestation, if not checked, could be detrimental for the nation’s quest to achieve food security.
He said degraded land could be regenerated through Biochar, a product formed by partial combustion or pyrolysis of plant-derived biomass or waste stream products.
Dr Yeboah noted that the technology converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that could hold carbon, boost food security, and increase soil biodiversity to lessen deforestation.