Ghana faces imminent disaster if nothing is done to curb rapid deforestation and degradation of the environment. The country loses 70 thousand hectares of its forest cover annually due to bad farming practices, bush fires, logging and mining, among others.
Forestry officials say with the current trend, more than half of the country could be exposed to flooding, drought and famine. Ashanti Regional Deputy Manager of the Forestry Commission, James Ware, was speaking at the launch in Kumasi of MTN’s annual community service initiative, known as the ‘21 days of yellow care’.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates more than 130 thousand square kilometers of the world’s forest are lost annually to deforestation. This accounts for 20 per cent of global greenhouse emissions which contribute to global warming.
The story is even worse in Ghana where half of the 238 thousand 533 square kilometers of land is prone to disaster.
Out of 8 point three million hectares of high forest that existed in the past ten years, only 0ne point eight million hectares is available now with an annual forest decline of 70 thousand hectares.
The lost has been attributed to bad farming practices such as the use of agriculture chemicals, bush fires, logging, and mining among others.
According to Mr. Ware, traditional farming methods and the use of agro-chemicals some of which are banned contribute to environmental degradation.
‘‘What do we use weedicides for, precisely we use it to kill plants and any living plant that you pour weedicide on dies and it does not only die it means that little plants or seeds that are even on the ground, they are also destroyed all together….Strong winds will carry that away, water will erode the rest away and then it remains the hardcore sand or stone which cannot sustain plant life so the use of agro-chemicals are very detrimental to the environment’’.
Mr. Ware recommended the use of organic farming to conserve the environment. ‘‘We have to begin to think about the use of organic farming instead of using fertilizer and agro-chemicals’’, he said.
According to Mr. Ware, the alarming rate of forest depletion must prompt all Ghanaians to change their attitude to the environment.
Metro Chief Executive for Kumasi, Samuel Sarpong who commended MTN staff for their volunteerism called on residents in the metropolis to help conserve the environment.
During this year’s ’21 days yellow care’, MTN targets to plant nine thousand trees nationwide with the support of Forestry Commission, Friends Water and River Bodies as well as Zoomlion Ghana Limited.
Story by: Ohemeng Tawiah, Nhyira Fm-Kumasi/Ghana