Speaker Bagbin leads Parliament in tree planting

Politics Speaker Trees
Politics Speaker Trees

In commemorating the Green Ghana Day, Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin on Friday joined other well-meaning Ghanaians to plant tree seedlings at the premises of Parliament House, in support of the initiative.

The Green Ghana Day is an annual exercise introduced by the Government as part of efforts to recover the nation’s lost forest reserve.

This year’s celebration on the theme “Our Forest: Our Health”, saw Parliament planting 300 tree seedlings on the premises of the House.

The Speaker noted that the theme for this year’s Green Ghana Day underscores how critical it was to preserve the nation’s forests and vegetation for the well-being of humanity. In the previous Green Ghana Day event, Parliament planted 400 trees.

“Today we will add 300 more trees, bringing the total to 700. I have been informed that about 80 per cent of the trees planted survived. I believe we can do better by increasing the survival rate.” The Speaker said.

Touching on the significance of forests, the Speaker said forests, the lush lungs of planet earth, play an irreplaceable role in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

He noted that forests act as natural carbon sinks, absorbing carbon dioxide and replenishing the atmosphere with oxygen, ensuring that the air mankind breathes remains pure and invigorating.

He said it was important that Ghanaians recognize the immense value of these ecosystems and take proactive measures to restore and conserve them.

Speaker Bagbin said the benefits of trees and forests were manifold, such as the purification of the air that mankind breathes, filtering harmful particles and pollutants, and ensuring the well-being of citizens, especially those in urban areas where air pollution was high.

He said forests served as nature’s guardians, regulating water flow, mitigating the risks of flooding, and preserving the nation’s precious water bodies.

He said trees also provided shelter and habitat for countless species, sustaining biodiversity and preserving the delicate balance of the ecosystems.

“What is more, they have a crucial role in combating climate change, as they sequester carbon and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

Speaker Bagbin said the role of Parliament in enacting legislation to safeguard both livelihoods and the environment could not be overemphasized, reiterating that this year’s theme aligned with the consequences Ghanaians faced in disregarding the vital need to protect their ecosystems and forests.

He said the Forest Protection (Amendment) Act of 2002, Act 264 stands as a pillar for safeguarding the environment and promoting sustainable forestry practices.

Speaker Bagbin said it emphasizes the severity of offenses committed within forest reserves and highlights the importance of obtaining written consent from authorized institutions before engaging in tree felling, timber removal, or any actions that may harm the forest ecosystem.

Adding that the Act imposed strict penalties for such offenses, underlining their unwavering commitment to protect and preserve their precious forest resources.

He said the state of Ghana’s forests Ghana had witnessed a significant decline in forest cover over the years.
He said once blessed with a vast expanse of thriving rainforests; Ghana now ranks among the tropical nations with the highest percentage of deforestation.

Speaker Bagbin said the alarming statistics speak for themselves: from a staggering 8.2 million hectares in 1900, their forest cover had dwindled to a mere 1.6 million hectares.

He said this distressing trend highlights the environmental degradation caused by various factors, including informal small-scale gold mining and uncontrolled tree felling without the commensurate reforestation efforts.

He said the goal of halting deforestation and restoring the nation’s forests, as outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, would be unattainable if Ghanaians persist in their current attitude toward the forest cover, they had; stating that this was precisely why initiatives like Green Ghana Day were of paramount importance in national agenda.

“Green Ghana Day symbolizes an investment in our collective future, for which reason I urge all Ghanaians to actively participate in this exercise.” He said.

“Planting trees is not merely an ecological gesture; it is a profound act of love and responsibility toward our nation and health.”

Mr George Agbenowoshi, Acting Greater Accra Regional Manager of the Forestry Commission, said the exercise was creating awareness about the importance of forests and enhancing biodiversity on the environment as well as protecting the environment.

He urged Members of Parliament to support the works of the Commission and address issues of illegal mining in their respective constituencies.

Mr Ebenezer Ahumah Djietror, Acting Clerk to Parliament, commended Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for the initiative, which had the support of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Adoo and the Speaker of Parliament in restoring the nation’s forest cover.

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