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Editorial: Yes, Tree Planting Is The Answer   
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In her quest towards mitigating climate change, Ghana, would in January 2010, begin an ambitious nationwide afforestation project that also seeks to bridge the unemployment gap confronting the country. Climate change effects are already wrecking lives in Ghana and the rest of the African continent.

It is seriously having a rippling effect on the people, especially, those in rural communities, where various creeks serving as sources of drinking water have dried up, because of the lack of trees to serve as a cover for these water bodies.

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, which regulates and enact policies for the country’s natural resources and forest reserves, will launch a National Forest Plantation Development Program (NFPDP) in January next year, to avert the declining trend of its forest reserve.

The Minister for Lands and National Resources, Alhaji Collins Dauda, told The Chronicle recently that the objective of the program was to increase tree cover, through massive recruitment of reforestation ‘work gangs’, who are mostly unemployed youth, to improve environmental quality, and also provide avenues for the country to tap the emerging benefits from climate change, under the Clean Development Mechanism and Carbon Sequestration.

Ghana’s 8.2 million hectares of forest reserve, a century ago, has declined to a current 1.5 million hectares. A fortnight ago, the BBC reported that 90% of Ghana’s forests had been degraded since it attained independence in 1957, leaving only 10%, which is also under pressure by the local people.

With these alarming statistics, The Chronicle is happy that the Ministry has seen the danger ahead, and is putting preventive measures in place to save the country. All over the world, climate change has become a topical issue for discussion. Reports from Trinidad and Tobago, where the 51 member nations of the Commonwealth are meeting, indicate that the issue of climate change is vigorously being discussed.

The outgoing Commonwealth Chairman, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni, told the session that climate change “is a direct responsibility of those who use unclean technologies, and it is a new form of aggression that must be stopped,” he added.

There is also going to be an international conference in the Danish capital of Copenhagen, to discuss how to reduce gas emissions, which is said to be a major contributor to global warming.

In Africa, our major concern is desertification, which is fast taking over our lands. Since Ghana is part of the global village, it would be wrong for us to sit down unconcerned, and that is why we welcome the initiative of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

In the late 1960s and 70s, the government of Ghana did not bother about providing drinking water for the rural settlers, because there were enough rivers and creeks they could rely on throughout the year.

However, today, the situation is not the same, because all the trees that provide protection for these rivers have been cut down. Apart from rivers that are drying up, as a result of this development, the cold weather has also given way to excessive heat

There is the need to put preventive measures in place, before the situation gets out of control.

It the hope of The Chronicle, that the Ministry’s initiative would be supported by all Ghanaians, to save the forest and vegetation from total destruction.
Source: The Chronicle

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