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02.12.2004 Regional News

Charcoal burning has no adverse effect on the environment

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Kintampo (B/A), Dec. 2, GNA -A research by the Decentralized Environmental Action Research (DEAR), a pilot project of the Department for International Development of Britain, has discovered that, "there is no scientific proof or hard evidence of the effect of charcoal burning on the environment".

Professor Kojo Amanor, a Lecturer at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, and the Coordinator of the Pilot Research Project, who made this known at Kintampo in the Kintampo District, on Wednesday said charcoal burners often used dead trees. He explained that when a tree is cut down it produces several coppices that tend to re-produce a number of trees.

Prof. Amanor was addressing a day's workshop for 68 participants comprising charcoal burners, representatives of area councils and officials of the National Disaster Management Organisation. The workshop, was organised by DEAR on the theme: "Charcoal Burner Has A Right For Livelihood" at the District, noted as the highest charcoal producing area in Ghana.

Prof. Amanor said the coppices often grow quickly than planted trees, and in a zone where fire occurs frequently, coppicing enable the trees to survive.

The regeneration process does not make it imperative for charcoal burners to set up tree plantations since that would create problems for food production.

Prof. Amanor said charcoal production provides important incomes for poor people, including farmers, the youth and women. He stressed: "We believe that the livelihood interests of people should be defended and should not be banned unless it is proven beyond all measure of doubt that it is having a bad effect which will threaten the future of the rural areas".

Prof. Amanor said banning of charcoal burning as being advocated by some politicians and chiefs, would destroy the potential revenue base of the District Assembly and the income of the people.

The Professor said the DEAR Project seeks to promote popular democracy at the local level in the sustainable management of the environment.

Mr. Kofi Kanton a staff of the Project and Mr. Opoku Pebi, a Geographer at the University of Ghana, took the participants through the study of regeneration potential of trees in the Kintampo area.

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