Dr. Kwakye Ameyaw, a Forestry Consultant has lauded the current suspension of minerals prospecting in the nation's forest reserves.
The Ministry of Land and Natural Resources (MLNR) ordered the suspension to fast track rehabilitation of all degraded mine sites in forest reserves.
“The suspension is therefore seen as a step in the right direction and for that matter highly commendable and should remain in force until efforts being put in place by the ministry for the rehabilitation yield desirable results”, Dr. Ameyaw, a former President of the Ghana Institute of Foresters (GIF) has said.
Speaking at the opening session of the 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the GIF held at Fiapre, in the Sunyani West Municipality, Dr. Ameyaw called on MLNR and the Forestry Commission to limit grants of prospecting licences in future to only mining companies which had earned reputations for professional mining.
“This would enable the country to get rid of the few bad nuts who have gained notoriety for persistent environmental abuses in pursuit of their own parochial interest to the detriment of the state”, he added.
It was on the theme “Sustainable Mining in Ghana; The Role of the Forester and the Way Forward”.
Dr. Ameyaw highlighted the need for the nation to clamp down and prevent illegal and unregulated mining operations, saying that it has the potential to ensure all mining was bound by the same environmental standards.
“This provides the justification for all relevant stakeholders to lend their maximum support to the government in its determination to address the menace of illegal mining in the country”, he said.
Professor Samuel Kingsley Oppong, the President of the GIF later told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview that, the rapid depletion of the nation's forest reserves required a concerted approach to tackle it.
He said though the country still had about one million hectares of forest reserves in the wildlife sector 'we need to replant and re-afforest depleted production reserves with native tree species to yield maximum benefits”.
Prof. Oppong expressed discomfort about lack of enforcement of forest laws, regrettably, “sometimes people who have to enforce the laws compromise their positions”.
“I think we should stop putting human face on the enforcement of forest laws for offenders to be punished to serve as deterrent to like-minded others”, Prof. Oppong said.