The Centre for the Management of Impact of Climate Change (CeMICC) has called on government to exhibit a high sense of political will in tackling the current rate of land and environmental degradation facing the country.
According to CeMICC, the current hike in the destruction of forest reserves, farm lands, rivers, eco-systems and the environment in general is as a result of negative human activities from sectors such as small-scale mining, timber industry and farming activities along river banks.
Professor Ernest Ofori Sarong, Chairman of the Technical Panel of the Centre for the Management of Impact of Climate Change (CeMICC), who made the call at a public lecture in Accra on Wednesday, urged government to strengthen the various institutions tasked with the enforcement of existing national laws, by-laws and regulations on land acquisition and usage in the country.
He said this would enable the institutions to intensify efforts in enforcing these laws and regulations and to also ensure the prosecution of offenders to serve as deterrents to others.
The meeting, which is part of activities scheduled for the commemoration of the World Environment Day, aims at creating public awareness on the causes, effect and dangers of climate change and campaign vigorously to combat its effect on the socio-economic development of the country.
Prof. Ofori Sarpong said government must be bold in dealing with both indigenes and foreigners who are arrested for illegal mining, timber logging and other negative environmental activities.
He appealed to the government not to allow itself to be bullied for the sake of the bilateral relations that exist between Ghana and any other country whose nationals would flout the laws of the land, but to take necessary action to ensure law and order.
He indicated that there is already evidence on the impact of climate change on the national economy with clear signs that the coastal zone agriculture, forestry, water resources, health, energy, poverty and livelihood are all affected.
“Important manifestations of climate change in Ghana include recent experiences of flooding, drought, rising sea levels, coastal erosions, shortening of farming seasons, loss of biodiversity and eco-systems as well as health threats in non-communicable and communicable diseases such as malaria, cholera and cerebro spinal meningitis”, he said.
Dr Andrew Boateng Dua of CeMICC, in a lecture on the topic “Saving the Environment in a Climate Change Era”, indicated that the current environmental challenges could negatively affect the sustainable development of the country.
He called for revived advocacy on the causes of the phenomenon and suggested strategies such as massive afforestation through tree planting activities along river banks and in forest areas where indiscriminate logging has depleted it, to protect the ecosystem.
"We need to protect medicinal, endangered plant and animal species as well as adopt bio-engineering, which involves the growing of plants such as bamboo species, which grow faster, to absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide that is harmful to humans,” he said.
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