Salaga (N/R), Nov. 24, GNA - Mr. Edward Telly, Northern Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has observed that the destruction of water sources was one major factor leading to the depletion of forest reserves and vegetation cover. "Currently, the most important effects of deforestation is the destruction of the water catchments areas of our rivers, streams and dams, which dry-up early in the season and deprive people and animals of water," he emphasized.
Mr. Telly said this when he addressed the chiefs and people of Salaga, in the East Gonja District on Thursday during the Regional celebration of the World Environment Day.
The regional celebration was meant to create the awareness on the dangers associated with negative practices on the environment and the consequences impact on the socio-economic lives of people in the region. The celebration was on the theme: "Bushfires, a threat to green communities" and was also meant to solicit the support of opinion leaders and chiefs in the region to show commitment to fight bush and charcoal burning to save the forest reserves.
Mr. Telly said it was regrettable that despite the ban on chainsaw operations in the country, the practice was still ongoing in many districts in the Northern Region with the connivance of some landowners to cut down trees that serve as forests and woodland.
He said the practice was exposing water resources to harsh climatic conditions and appealed to landowners who condone with chainsaw operators to stop the practice so as to protect woodlands and water resources.
Mr. Telly said bush fires in Ghana was causing a great loss of agricultural produce yearly and stressed the importance of a collective effort to stop the practice.
He said as means of controlling the forest, the EPA had worked in collaboration with the Tamale Metro Assembly and other NGOs to provide about 4,500 seedlings to eleven schools and four communities for planting.
Mr. John B. Atogiba, East Gonja District Coordinating Director who deputized for the District Chief Executive (DCE) the rate at which activities of man continues to deplete the environment needed strong willpower to stop the practice.
He said due to the gloomy prospects indiscriminate bush burning posed to the district, the District Assembly had planned to embark on a programme to educate traditional leaders on the need to discourage farmers from burning the bush.
Kpembewura Alhaji Ibrahim Haruna Kibasibi paramount chief of the Kpembe Traditional Area advised organisers of such programmes to attach more importance to it by involving political leaders to talk to the people.
He said the Gonjaland Traditional Area Council had met in Damongo and all the chiefs agreed for to pass a law that would ban charcoal burning in the area as a means of preventing bush burning. He said the law would be effective in December and that those who would defy the law and burns charcoal in commercial quantities would be severely punished according to the District Assembly and the Traditional Council law.
The Kpembewura reiterated his call on the youth to go into farming as means of creating employment avenues and stop depending solely on white-collar jobs, which were inadequate. Nov. 24 05