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11.09.2003 Regional News

DCE launches River Basin Afforestation to sustain water

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Kuano (E/R), Sept. 10, GNA - The Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District River Basin Afforestation programme has been launched, with a call on farmers to desist from farming on riverbanks.

Mr. Michael Kofi Mensah, District Chief Executive (DCE), who launched the programme at Kuano near Suhum in the Eastern Region said, "We are all witnesses to the extent to which our environment is being degraded through reckless felling of trees in the forest, without replacing them for our children to inherit in future."

The District Assembly, in conjunction with the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) brought together 22 Disaster Volunteer Corps (DVC), who would plant about 20,340 species of tree seedlings, to protect water bodies, sustain rivers and lands along the three rivers in the district.

Mr. Mensah explained that in order to facilitate work on the afforestation project, the DVC from Asuboi, Kuano, Dokrochewa and Achiansa communities will handle the Kua River, Anum-Apapam and Mfranor will handle the Ayensu River, while the Dawa Community will handle the Densu River.

The DCE appealed to chiefs, landlords, the Unit Committees and the communities along the river basins, to assist the volunteer groups with communal labour to ensure the success of the programme.

Mr. Mensah commended the Forestry Department, Environmental Protection Agency, World Vision International and ADRA for the supply of more seedlings for the project and the supply of materials and food aid. Mr. Godfred Okyere, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayensuano deplored the operation of chain saw operators in the area and asked them to stop the practice.

Mr. Okyere called on the people to support the National Health Insurance Scheme, because the aim was to spread the risks of incurring health care costs over a group of subscribers, saying, "the larger the subscribers, the lower the risk."

The MP stressed that the government noting the problems associated with the "cash and carry" system, stated its intention to abolish this out-of-pocket payment for health care at the point of service. He said health insurance is one of several methods that the government is adopting to finance health care in the country, "Health Insurance is to replace the cash and carry system of payment of health services consumed."

In a welcoming address, Mr. C. S. Cantey, District Co-ordinator of NADMO, said during the afforestation project, started two years ago, about 1.5 million tree seedlings would be planted along these rivers, to keep the water clean and to sustain it from drying.

Mr. Seth Mark Ahyia, Regional Co-ordinator of NADMO, who chaired the function assisted the MP and the DCE to present cutlasses and Wellington boots to each of the volunteers.

Mr. Ahyia noted: "when the last tree dies, the last man dies."

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