EPA declares zero tolerance on bushfires

EPA declares zero tolerance on bushfires

14 February 2011

published by www.citifmonline.com

Ghana — The Northern Regional Directorate of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has embarked on a massive campaign to completely put a stop to the reports of bushfires that has affected livelihood in most farming communities.

The campaign is being spearheaded by the EPA in collaboration with security agencies to combat bushfires in the northern regions of Ghana.

Addressing a day’s seminar on the menace organized for chiefs, opinion and youth leaders as well as landowners in the northern region, Mr. Abu Iddrisu, Northern Regional Director of the EPA declared “Zero tolerance” on bushfires.

He expressed the EPA’s determination to oversee the arrest and immediate prosecution of persons whose business is to constantly burn the bush and worsen causing damage to the environment.

Mr. Abu Iddrisu condemned that practice and cautioned traditional leaders against intrusion whenever any of their people are caught in that practice.

The Northern Regional EPA Boss rather pleaded with the chiefs to channel their resources into actions introduced to punish the troublemakers whom he described as “Enemies of environmental conservation.”

Speaking on the theme, “The central role of traditional authority in mobilizing their community to control and manage bushfires in the northern region” Naa Alhassan Issahaku who doubles as the chief of Zangbaling and the Northern Regional population Officer, disclosed that over 40% of agricultural production is lost through uncontrollable bushfires annually.

He regretted that existing laws on the control of bushfires especially in the northern regions were not being enforced for which reason severe punishment must be meted out to persons caught in bush burning.

“The key strategy of the PNDC Law 229 was complete banning of bushfires with control from central government and the involvement of other stakeholders especially the traditional rulers: but with little or no resources coming from central government the law seem not to be applicable” Naa Alhassan noted.

Dr. Nicholas Iddi, National Coordinator of the Ghana Environmental Management Project (GEMP) mentioned the loss of vegetation and biodiversity, soil degradation and the eventual declining of crop yields as some of the negative effects of bushfires which required serious attention.

He entreated the stakeholders to take a cursory look at the long-term negative impact of bushfires and begin to act as ambassadors of change in their localities.

Deputy Northern Regional Minister, Mr. San Nasamu Asabigi noted regrettably that the growing trends of uncontrolled bushfires that annually destroy large tracks of farmlands, livestock and human lives should be a source of worry to all.

He made a passionate appeal to chiefs and opinion leaders in the region to complement the EPA in its quest to minimize the canker in their respective communities.

In view of the dire consequences of environmental degradation that is pervasive in the three northern regions of Ghana , the EPA launched a 7.4 million Canadian dollar five years project codenamed “The Ghana Environmental Management Project (GEMP)” from 2008 to 2013 which sought to address the problem of land degradation, desertification and drought.

The Canadian government sponsored project is coordinated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in collaboration with Ghana’s National Action Programme to Combat Desertification and Drought (NAPCDD) Secretariat.

The main objective of the project is to reverse land degradation, improve agriculture and increase food security which will accordingly reduce the high poverty levels that are characteristic of people living in the three regions of the north.

The project is covering all the 20 districts in the northern region in 80 pilot communities selected by the District Assemblies especially those that are badly degraded.

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