DEFORESTATION IN GHANA

The rate of deforestation in Ghana is estimated to be one of the highest in the world after Togo and Nigeria .At an estimated annual rate of 2% ,equivalent to 135,000 hectares per annum. The Green west Africa country is estimated to have lost over 60% of its forest cover from 1950 to date,which translates to about 2.7 million hectares of forest depleted .( www.enaghana.com)


According to the Ghana REDD+ strategy reviewed document Prepared by the National REDD+ Secretariat of Ghana  forwarded and released by the Forestry commission of Ghana in 2017,the main drivers of deforestation and degradation in the country are farming,both legal and illegal mining ,illegal lumbering ,wildfires ,fuel wood harvesting and infrastructural development while weak law enforcement coupled with corruption,population growth and development also form part of indirect causes.

The forest land of Ghana is divided into three basic zones, these are:

  • High forest zone

  • Transition zone

  • Savannah zone

ghanaian times
photo credit: Ghanaian times

 

The forest belts in Ghana are rich with natural resources which include minerals, timber and lots of animal species. These natural resources have been improperly used or abused, making crippling impact on the nature of the environment. The current rate of forest depletion, if not solved,could trigger serious ecological crisis in the nation which will influence agriculture, the economy, water resources and the general well-being of Ghanaians since it is estimated that the sector’s contribution to the GDP of the nation is 6%.

mordern ghana
photo credit: mordernghana.com

WATER POLLUTION

Ghana has no issue with water sources, yet consumable water sources are reducing at such a quick rate, to the point that the nation faces an approaching water emergency in the following 10 years, if conditions keep on persisting.

A considerable lot of the nation’s water sources have been contaminated throughout the years with waste, chemicals utilized as a part of mining, for example, mercury and inorganic compost utilized for horticulture, in light of the fact that Ghanaians did not regard water and had underestimated it.

One phenomenon that has gotten a ton of consideration and discourse on media and different platforms is illegal small-scale mining famously referred to as ‘galamsey’. The topic has been talked about broadly in perspective of the quick and long haul impacts on the earth, farming, living space and occupations in general. The worry has been that if these unlawful mining exercises are permitted to endure, it will have desperate outcomes for the sustenance of jobs in the groups influenced by these illicit mining exercises.

However ‘galamsey’ influences numerous features of life, one region in which its effect is being felt most is the contamination of waterways and water bodies.

The contamination of waterways additionally affects the exercises of the Ghana Water Company in its command to give safe drinking water to Ghanaians. For example, a couple of years back the Ghana Water Company close a water treatment plant because of the way that chemicals utilized for treating contaminated water had turned out to be costly. The organization likewise needed to close down its water treatment plant at Kyebi for one-and-half years because of the contamination of the Birim Stream.

Regardless of the negative impacts of illicit mining on waterways and other water bodies, numerous groups in the provincial territories, because of absence of alternative sources of water, tend to utilize the same dirtied streams with no dread. They drink, cook, shower and play out all errands with the dirtied water regardless of the danger of contracting ailments, such as, cholera, fever, kidney diseases and heart diseases.

WETLANDS – THEIR IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS

Wetlands are zones of land where water covers the dirt – all year or exactly at specific circumstances of the year. Wetlands can either be natural or artificial and the water inside a wetland might be static or streaming, crisp, salty or saline. There are even underground wetlands.

Wetlands are a basic piece of our regular habitat. They shield our shores from wave activity, decrease the effects of surges, assimilate toxins and enhance water quality. They give natural surroundings to creatures and plants and numerous contain a wide assorted variety of life, supporting plants and creatures that are discovered no place else.

Wetlands give an essential scope of ecological, social and financial administrations. Numerous wetlands are zones of extraordinary characteristic excellence and numerous are imperative to Native individuals.

Wetlands are the fundamental connection among land and water.

Wetlands go about as normal surge insurance as they trap at that point gradually discharge surface water after some time. This capacity to store water in the midst of expanded precipitation avoids flooding. Depleting wetlands for building advancement and farmlands has expelled a considerable lot of these common guards, leaving encompassing territories helpless against expanded flooding.

Wetlands likewise give employments to neighborhood groups and biodiversity. People who live close to such water bodies, angle in it for their protein necessity and for a few, the fish they offer is their fundamental wellspring of business. The salt mining industry in the Ada Songhor enclave is known to give a great many occupations to the occupants here.

The part of wetlands in decreasing the dangers of catastrophic events can’t be thought little of. Prominent among them is the capacity of wetland stores to store carbon which is our real defender notwithstanding environmental change.

In spite of their support, they are regularly under danger from human exercises, which incorporate infringement and contamination.

Here in Ghana, water bodies, for example, the Sakumo Ramsar Site, the Korle and Chemu tidal ponds and the ever prevalent Odaw Waterway (all in Accra), the Kpeshie Tidal pond and the Songhor Tidal pond in Ada (which is additionally a Ramsar Site) are on the whole wetlands however are in an unfortunate state.

Wetlands are essential to every single human life. The UN thousand years biological community report is of the sentiment that soon Africa would begin encountering catastrophic events which incorporate any semblance of sea tempests, tornadoes, torrents etc.

This they ascribe to our abusing of the earth, wetlands included – which are making us helpless to catastrophic events. There have been a few occurrences where engineers have infringed on wetlands for improvement ventures.

 

BEACH CLEAN-UP ON FOUNDER’S DAY

The 21st of September is a date set aside every year as volunteers day. It is also the birth day of the first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which is celebrated an observed as founder’s day.

As part of this year’s volunteers day and founder’s day, an event dubbed “Save life under water” was organized by Project Hope GH in partnership with Green Africa Youth Organization (GAYO) in response to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 14, which has to do with conservation of marine and coastal ecosystems.
The event which comprised a clean-up exercise at the beach to the west gate of the University of Cape Coast and education of the residents in the neighboring community on the effects of polluting water bodies and how to avoid such behaviors, started as early as 7:00 am with members of both organizations cleaning the beach. The clean-up exercise ended at about 12:00pm.

The second part of the event which was the public education, started from 12:00pm. At this point, members of were divided into groups in order that more residents will be educated. During the clean-up exercise, human excreta was seen and when asked, the residents of the community told members that most of the houses do not have toilets and that the public toilet was destroyed and a new one was under construction, so there was no other place for those without toilets to ease themselves than the beach.

At the end of the event, members were challenged not to let the campaign end there but to continue to campaign on attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

 

CLEAN-UP EXERCISE

On the 30th of July, 2016, I took part in a clean-up exercise organized by Fountain Gate Chapel (Desert Pastures) at Bolgatanga in the Upper East region of Ghana.
The clean-up was organized mainly to clean the church premises but we ended up cleaning some parts of the community around the church. This clean-up was supported by ZOOMLION GHANA LIMITED (a waste management company in Ghana).
We were divided into groups in which some swept the floors inside and outside the chapel, some weeded the bush around the chapel, some mobbed the tiled floor and cleaned the windows, some conveyed sand to fill some parts of the floor whilst others clearing choked gutters.
I was happy to hear about the exercise since sanitation is part of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and when we all come together as one to do it, we will be well on our way to achieving this goal.
It was all joy and excitement as we took turns to clean and cracked jokes during the exercise. I hope other organizations and groups will all organize such exercises where ever they are.
Remember, cleanliness is next to Godliness.

Compiled by:
Isaac Abugri Azumah

Coordinator, Green Youth Generation (GYG)

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4TH ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION WORKSHOP

IDEAS for University of Cape Coast, was, on the 8th of April, 2016, at SAMROSE COMPLEX ACADEMY to educate the pupils on the importance of environmental sanitation as part of our environmental sanitation workshop.
We were warmly received by the staff present due to the absence of the headmistress and assistant, they helped in organizing the pupils.
The team, comprising three members (Isaac Abugri, Emmanuel Marfo and Daystar Babanawo) lead the workshop. Daystar Babanawo lead the workshop with assistance from Emmanuel Marfo.
Since the workshop is based on environmental sanitation and health with emphasis on personal hygiene and littering, Daystar first explained the meaning of environment and sanitation to the pupils. She then went on to talk about the reason behind the workshop (ie, environmental sanitation), stating that unhygienic conditions cause diseases, diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, malaria and worm infections, which are mostly acquired by children. She explained further that these diseases can be prevented when our environment is kept clean.
Emmanuel Marfo touched on littering, stating that littering causes gutters to be choked leading to floods, and that one should always dispose of waste properly. He also said that one should keep waste such as rubbers and plastics till one sees a waste bin and that littered environments destroy other organisms that are useful and important to us.
On personal hygiene, Daystar stated the following as practices that promote personal hygiene; bathing at least twice a day, brushing our teeth at least twice a day, washing our hands with soap and running water frequently, washing our clothes, trimming our fingernails and keeping our hair neat.
There was joy expressed on the faces of the pupils after the workshop. It is our believe that they will practice what they have been taught and that they will encourage their colleagues to do same.

3RD ENVIRONMENTAL SANITATION WORKSHOP

IDEAS for University of Cape Coast, was, on the 1st of April, 2016, at IMAM KHOMEINI primary to educate the pupils on the importance of environmental sanitation as part of our environmental sanitation workshop. And since we had a workshop for the Junior high school, we deemed it appropriate to do same for the primary school.
We were warmly received by the headmaster and staff, who helped in organizing the pupils. The pupils were divided into two groups (ie, lower primary and upper primary), since one classroom could not contain both the lower primary and the upper primary.
The team, comprising four members (Isaac Abugri, Emmanuel Marfo, Charles Obiri and Daystar Babanawo) lead the workshop with two members leading the upper primary and two members leading the lower primary. Isaac Abugri and Emmanuel Marfo lead the lower primary in the workshop whiles Charles Obiri and Daystar Babanawo lead the upper primary.
Since the workshop was based on environmental sanitation and health with emphasis on personal hygiene and littering, our speakers, after explaining to the pupils what environment is, went on to talk about the reason behind the workshop (ie, environmental sanitation), stating that unhygienic conditions cause diseases, diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, typhoid, malaria and worm infections, which are mostly acquired by children. The speakers explained further that these diseases can be prevented when our environment is kept clean.
The speakers touched on littering, stating that littering causes gutters to be choked leading to floods, and that one should always dispose of waste properly. The speakers also stated that littered environments destroy other organisms that are useful and important to us.
On personal hygiene, our speakers stated the following as practices that promote personal hygiene; bathing at least twice a day, brushing our teeth at least twice a day, washing our hands with soap and running water frequently, washing our clothes, trimming our fingernails and keeping our hair neat.
The pupils were happy and one could see the joy expressed on their faces after the workshop. It is our believe that they will practice what they have been taught and that they will encourage their colleagues to do same. WP_20160401_11_36_00_ProWP_20160401_11_28_29_ProWP_20160401_11_50_32_SmartWP_20160401_11_55_27_ProWP_20160401_11_55_30_Pro