Eco-Conscious Citizens call on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to say NO to the construction of a multi-storey office complex on Parks and Gardens land at Cantonments, Accra, and NO to the re-zoning of the area to exclusively Civic.
Parks and Gardens was created as a Ministry in 1961, to amongst other things “Promote landscape beautification, and acquire lands to establish public parks and promote ecotourism."
Parks and Gardens is currently a Department under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD). It is disappointing that instead of working to fulfill the mandate of Parks and Gardens "to combat the effects of global warming by promoting a national tree-planting campaign" MLGRD is focused on building a multi-storey office complex on land purposely acquired for a green space.
In our view, the failure to support Parks and Gardens Department to develop the Green Mandate and create jobs in the Green Economy is due to a lack of vision and a failure to grasp the importance of Open Spaces for our health. We cannot and should not allow that myopia to cripple Parks and Gardens.
The constitution places a responsibility on Ghanaians to protect and safeguard the environment, and we ask all forward-thinking Ghanaians to join us in challenging the Environmental Vandalism in progress. In exercising our constitutional duty, we call on the EPA, which is set up to improve, conserve and promote the country's environment, to say NO to the re-zoning of Parks and Gardens land from Green Civic to exclusively Civic. There is no acceptable reason to re-zone the land.
Last year about 5,000 plants were destroyed and 150 trees felled on Parks and Gardens Department land without permission from the EPA, to make room for the multi-storey office complex. The trees were felled for no reason, as the office block is now to be located elsewhere on Parks and Gardens land.
Eco-Conscious Citizens are of the view that the multi-storey office complex should not be located anywhere on Parks and Gardens' land.
Parks and Gardens should no longer be under a Ministry. It should be an independent National Park and given the tools to become a productive National Asset.
There should be transparency in the zoning process so Citizens can ensure that there are enough green spaces to enhance the quality of life. A mapping out exercise should be carried out to protect areas designated as parks and open spaces from being built on.
Eco-Conscious Citizens co-ordinator