A Sad Day For The Environment

By Awula Serwah, Eco-Conscious Citizens Co-ordinator
JAN 10, 2022 LISTEN

Environmental vandalism took place at La Wireless Cluster of Schools in Accra, during the Christmas holidays. Trees and an orchard have been destroyed to make way for an astroturf park. Environmental Vandalism is unacceptable at a time when we face a Climate Emergency. The destruction includes trees in the Prince of Wales Garden and trees planted by the Embassy of Israel in collaboration with the Ghana Garden and Flower Movement and the Department of Parks and Gardens on 20th April, 2021 to mark Earth Day and unveil the Jerusalem Garden at the La Wireless Cluster of Schools.

The event was organized under the theme ‘Restore our Earth’. Considering that Ghana plans to plant 5 million trees, the destruction of an orchard is worrying. No thought was given to the damage to the psyche of children attending La Wireless Cluster of Schools returning from the Christmas break and finding out that the trees they tended have been destroyed. There was no consultation with stakeholders who have planted trees in the school compound.

Gardening and tending trees is not only a healthy recreational activity, it also a source of learning. It provides valuable experience for work in the Green Economy. At a time of high youth unemployment, crushing the hopes of young people and destroying the learning opportunities created by the orchard is unhelpful. The damage caused must be put right immediately. It takes a village to raise a child! The village is saying this destruction harms our children, the next generation.

Eco-Conscious Citizens gather that Aviation Park, Cantonments where young people have been playing football and other sports is being built on, and the grounds at La Wireless Cluster of Schools are to be used as a "replacement" park. Unfortunately, spaces earmarked as parks in the local area have been built on over the years. This needs to stop. The spatial plans of Accra must be made public and easily accessible so that remaining Parks and open spaces are not built on.

Having celebrated Constitution Day on Friday 7th January 2022. It is important that we do not trample over the Constitutional rights of Citizens by appropriating their green spaces and destroying the investment in the environment and the next generation.

Environmentalists are aware that artificial grass is not an eco-friendly alternative to natural grass. Paul Hetherington, fundraising director for the charity Buglife says:

“It blocks access to the soil beneath for burrowing insects, such as solitary bees, and the ground above for soil dwellers such as worms, which will be starved of food beneath it,” he says.

“It provides food for absolutely no living creatures.”

"This is a particular concern in view of the dramatic global decline in insect species.

Not only does artificial grass have no climate benefits, but producing the plastic emits carbon and uses fossil fuels.

There are also growing concerns about the impact of the synthetic chemicals that are added to artificial grass on human health and the environment.

The EU has been investigating specialist artificial turf used on sports fields for suspected carcinogens, and is considering banning intentionally added microplastics."

Eco-Conscious Citizens call on La Dadekotopon Municipal Assembly and all those involved in the astroturf project to stop work and find an alternative open space for the park. The school compound should not be appropriated for a public park. The orchard should be restored. When creating parks, we should consider the environment and use natural grass. We cannot pay lip service to sustainable development goals, attend conferences like COP26 and then engage in acts of Environmental Vandalism.

BY Awula Serwah, Eco-Conscious Citizens Co-ordinator


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