Accra, June 5, GNA- "Professor" Barima Azumah Nelson, a boxing legend on Saturday led a team of eminent personalities including the Minister of Environment and Science, Professor Kasim Kasanga to plant about 500 coconut seedlings around the Sakumono Beach to mark World Environment Day.
Some of the personalities who participated in the exercise represented Institutions such as the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC.
Prof. Azumah Nelson advised coastal communities not to defecate at the beaches nor use it as dumping ground for waste materials. He said it was important that as a nation we must try to protect our seas, because it was the source of life on earth.
"If the seas dry up there would be no life on earth," he said. The day has the theme; " Wanted! Seas and Oceans: Dead or Alive?" Prof. Azumah Nelson urged Ghanaians to protect the beaches to promote tourism, which was becoming the fastest income generation for the nation.
"Tourist like beaches and if our beaches are not clean, they would not come," he said, adding that the dumping of litter in the oceans especially plastic was also killing living organisms such as turtles.
"We have to change our ways and help protect our seas and oceans so that the oceans can also sustain life on earth, " he said. Dr Duah Yentumi who represented the UNDP resident representative, read UN Secretary-General, Busumuru Kofi Annan speech which called for a concerted action by governments, businesses and individuals to ensure that the seas and their resources were protected and managed for generations to come.
He noted that marine environment was facing challenges, which if not addressed effectively, would have serious implications for sustainable development.
The UN Secretary-General described the seas and oceans as the world's most prolific natural resource from where all life on earth originated. He said the rate at which the seas' resources were being depleted as a result of human activities had grave future implications for both marine and human lives.
"The facts are clear, the world's seas are becoming increasingly tainted with untreated waste water, air-borne pollution, industrial effluent and silt from inadequately managed watersheds," he said. Busumuru Annan said marine litter was killing up to a million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles a year, adding that as a result, despite the growing reach and intensity of commercial fishing operations, total global fish catch was declining.
About three-quarters of world fish stock were being harvested faster than they could reproduce.
"With more than 40 per cent of the human population already living within 60 kilometres of the coast and the proportion growing, these problems are likely only to increase," he said.
Touching on some of the role that the UN was playing in terms of protecting the seas and oceans along the West African coast, Dr Yentumi said Ghana was a beneficiary of an assistance provided for the implementation of the Gulf of Guinea Large Marine Ecosystem.
"The project is meant to increase cooperation between 17 countries bordering the Gulf of Guinea, which is being threatened by pollution from ships and other land based sources".
The UNDP, he noted was also collaborating with the EPA in developing an environmental sensitivity map for the coastal areas of Ghana.