Mr James Oppong Otoo, Senior Disaster Control Officer of the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), has urged farmers to turn weeds into mulch to nourish farmlands and increase crop yield instead of burning them.
“There are methods of clearing and cultivation that do not require fire,” he said and adding that, “rather than burning, weeds from the farm can be transformed into mulch to boost soil fertility.”
Mr Otoo told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that bushfires were one of the biggest causes of ozone layer depletion, resulting in global warming, which mixed with natural occurrences to generate change in the climate.
“The impacts of bushfires come about as a result of the release of a big amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through the smoke that is emitted,” he said.
“These carbon dioxide emissions contribute to global warming by warming the atmosphere. In addition to natural causes of climate change, global warming is a contribution to climate change.”
Mr Otoo stated that climate change caused extreme weather events such as high rainfall, which created floods and a lack of rainfall caused drought, which affected farming because there was no water to sustain farming activities.
Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO) II Daniel Tetteh, Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Eastern Regional Ghana Fire Service (GFS), listed farmers, cattle rearers, charcoal smokers, hunters who went hunting with dogs, and smokers as individuals who caused bushfires in the Eastern Region, adding, “natural causes of bushfires are rare.”
He noted that the Eastern Regional Fire Service recorded bushfire outbreaks in approximately 15 areas in the region each year, adding that, “the fire prone areas in the region included Kwahu-Afram Plains, Asesewa in the Upper Manya, Suhum-Nsawam areas, Koforidua Affordable Housing to Abrawa Nkwanta, Magazine, Asuogyamang, Mpraeso, Nkawkaw on the Kumasi to Accra stretch.”
ADO II Tetteh stated that bushfires contributed significantly to deforestation by destroying trees that promoted climate change and releasing smoke into the atmosphere, which distorted the ozone layer.
He added that, in addition to deforestation, microorganisms that helped to sustain nutrients in the soil were being burned and killed, leaving the soil devoid of nutrients to boost crop productivity and health.
“Previously, a famer could harvest 10 bags of what he cultivates on an acre of land, but these days, cultivating an acre of land yields only a few numbers of bags.” “Bushfire activity has resulted in a change in weather circumstances, particularly insufficient rainfall,” he added.
ADO II Tetteh asked citizens to avoid setting bushes on fire to assist maintain soil nutrients and safeguard the ozone layer by weeding their garden when it is bushy, to avoid smoking in bushes, and to conduct excellent farming practices.