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Sustainable development goal 15 calls for a clean environment (Life on land) and Sustainable development goal 3 talks of good health and wellbeing which we are all up to defend by ensuring pollution free environments to ensure healthy people, animals, and surroundings.
For ages now, communities for the sake of ensuring good vegetation, go into plantation and afforestation programs to augment rainfall patterns and avoid the devastation of the atmospheric ozone layer. This afforestation has created teak forest reserves in such communities and is good sources of generating income for the community and national development.
The guinea savannah from Burkina Faso has almost visited Ghana through the Upper Regions. The emerging desert-like lands of the Upper West Region is enough to be cautioned that we better handle our few trees well for the continuous felling of such trees will not only cause deforestation but a huge exposer to desertification hence the engulfment of the land by the savannah zone. It is clear that most Upper West communities have suffered the fate of felling economic tress like shear trees, dawadawa trees, and mahoganies for the purposes of charcoal burning, making of wooden artifacts and as firewood for sale.
Those areas now are battling with land fertility and poor agricultural yields. Most water bodies in such areas are usually dried up afore the dry season sets in and it is a predicament to the lives of humans and animals living there.
It is however unfortunate that the people in Northern Region and some parts of Upper West Region have not drawn any lessons from this and have still involved themselves in incessant logging of all economic trees and even those considered as ‘living trees’.
For the past five years, timber logging has been full-time employment for most youth in my jurisdiction supported by chiefs and opinion leaders of the communities since they take their tokens in the cause of this illegal and unrestricted felling of trees. Not to talk about how trees are cut down for the purposes of charcoal burning since that is a known practice but with the new dimension, there is the need to raise voices about it.
For the purpose of confirmation and follow up, communities like Jentige, Bale, Tinyekuraa, Dakurupe, Sonya and some others in Bole district have suffered this logging effects. In Kalba, kaawiye, and some communities in the Sawla-Tuna Kalba district, and some other districts in Northern Ghana, similar things happen there. Such logging practices are now a nuisance not a means of generating money for the youth.
In Upper West Region, this practice of logging is common in Toliri in Lawra district. It has recently been reported that loggers have invaded the area whose actions benefits nobody but the few community leaders who openly give the go-ahead to such people to cause deforestation.
For the government to sit on the fence and watch with idle eyes, I think it is a failure and a cause to the failure of the government flagship program ‘planting for food and jobs’. Since people cannot plant in the desert, grow without water (rainfall) or cultivate under a depleted ozone layer, the first thing to look at is some of these environmental practices affecting our rainfall patterns which invariably affect crop cultivation and yield.
The forestry commission in these areas need to be investigated and enforcement of environmental protection laws be maintained to avoid future occurrences of logging with impunity. The chiefs of these areas and all opinion leaders should be educated on the reasons why afforestation practices should be followed to promote good land fertility and rainfall patterns.
The youth in these communities have thrown away our enviable resources to the white man who is clearly aware that ‘the day the last tree dies is the day the last man will die’. In foreign countries, they replace any tree that is cut down which is not practiced here but continually we cut trees for many purposes.
We as community members should work within our ranks to avoid invaders from silently enslaving us and our resources. Our golds and other minerals suffered the same incessant extraction by foreign companies and Ghana benefited a little of our own mineral resources. Now it is our trees.
We must stand on our feet to save the current and future Ghana.
By: Kunsaari A. Enbong