GREENING GHANA PROJECT- A CRUSADE AGAINST ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
The Greening Ghana Project is mooted to address the environmental menaces like deforestation, illegal mining (galamsey), illegal Chain Saw operations and their attendant ramifications that are robbing the nation of our water bodies, forest reserve, wild life habitat and other natural resources. The Project seeks to ensure restoration of wild life habitat ,forest reserve and outside forest reserve by planting trees along river bodies.
The target groups for this sensitization exercise are school children, traditional authorities, churches and the youth among others. In view of this, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources embarked on a sensitization programme themed “SAVE OUR FOREST AND WATER BODIES FOR A BETTER GHANA” on February 14, 2014 at Twifo-Praso in the Twifo Atti-Morkwa District of Central Region, where River Pra, one of the country’s water bodies is heavily polluted as a result of the activities of galamsey.
As part of the initiative to sensitize Galamsey prone areas, Nana Kwadwo Amposah, the Greening Ghana Ambassador embarked on a crusade by walking from Cape Coast to Twifo –Praso in the Central region. The journey gave him the opportunity to create environmental awareness in the various communities along the way. It took him two days to make the ninety kilometre journey.
At a durbar that was held as part of the programme, the District Chief Executive, Mr. Bossman Osei Hyiamang Junior lauded the Ministry for choosing his district for the programme and expressed his desire to assist in the fight against the environmental menace that have deprived the district of her natural resources. He urged the chiefs to cooperate in that regard. He applauded the government for instituting the Ministerial Task Force that has in no small way saved the situation to some extent and cautioned the people of the impending visit of the Task Force. He admonished the people to refrain from condoning and conniving with foreigners in their illicit activities which do not serve the interest of the community.
Delivering an address on behalf of the Chief Executive Officer of Minerals Commission, Mr. Eric Bukari elaborated how the Government saw the need to promulgate the Small Scale Gold Mining Law, PNDC 218. He pointed out that the Law which has been replaced with the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) is to streamline the activities of Artisanal and Small Scale Mining, create employment and stem the tide of illegal exploration of minerals. He justified this law by enumerating the benefits of Small Scale Mining to the socio-economic development of the country as offering employment to over one million people, contributing over 23% - 34% of Ghana total gold production, being the only source of minerals to the local jewelry industry and the dependence of the building industry on the Small Scale Mining outfit. He nevertheless lamented on the ills of illegal mining (Galamsey) that have led to the degradation of the environment, loss of farm lands, loss of forest cover with its attendant climate change and extensive pollution of water bodies . He urged anyone who is interested in Small Scale Mining to go through the laid down procedures as follows:
• Identify Area of interest• Cartographic/ Cadastral Search Report • Submission of license Application • Pre-License Site Inspection • Publication of Application
• Environmental Permit • Offer of Letter • License Agreement • Final Approval • Registration of license • Operating permit
The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission appealed to all stakeholders to collaborate in the fight to save the environment.
The Greening Ghana Ambassador, reminiscing his youthful days, spoke with nostalgia how the Pra River which was pearly blue in colour and served as drinking water, a fishing abode, a tourist attraction and many other purposes to the community and nation at large has lost its worth to the selfishness of a few. Nana Amposah appealed to all and sundry to be mindful of our attitude towards the environment. Referring to the National pledge and the lyrics in Ephriam Amu' song “YEN ARA ASASE NI”, he passionately appealed to everyone to join in the crusade to save our environment for posterity
The Chairman for the programme, Osaedeyo Kwesi Kenning IV Paramount Chief of Twifo Praso, applauded the government for choosing the district for this sensitization exercise and called on the people to cooperate and support the efforts of the government for the development of the country. He expressed his preparedness to work hand in hand with the government to protect the environment.
A procession on the major streets of the town by school children and some residents of the town ended on the Pra River where the Greening Ghana Ambassador poured his heart out. There was also sensitization education on Sunrise FM, the local FM station by Ms. Victoria Antwi Sarpong, the Head of Public Relations of the Ministry, Mr. Emmanuel Okang , Assistant Communication Specialist and Ms. Matilda Ansah the District Information Officer of Twifi Atti- Morkwa.
The day was preceded with a film show on the dangers of illegal mining (Galamsey), chain saw operations and other environmental degradation.