As the world marks World Environment Day today, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has called for concerted national efforts to conserve and properly use the country's biodiversity resources to ensure sustainable development.
While giving an assurance that the government would continue to implement policies to mitigate threats to biodiversity, he said there was the need for more awareness creation on the relevance of biodiversity to human survival.
In a statement issued yesterday, he said: "When we destroy our biodiversity resources, we threaten our very existence; when we protect them, we protect ourselves and posterity."
The United Nations (UN) declared June 5, every year as World Environment Day to enhance awareness, engage stakeholders and stimulate action on critical environmental challenges facing the planet.
This year's event is being marked on the theme: "Biodiversity" to encourage governments across the world to prioritise the protection of biodiversity resources.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the theme drew attention to “the need to conserve, restore and ensure the sustainable use of our natural resources”.
“The year 2020 is a critical year for nations to account for their commitment to conserve and restore biodiversity, as it ends the UN Decade on Biodiversity (2011-2020) which seeks to promote the implementation of a strategic plan on biodiversity and its overall vision of living in harmony with nature,” he said.
He said this year’s commemoration was an opportunity to scale up efforts towards the restoration of degraded and destroyed ecosystems to fight climate crisis and enhance food security, water supply and biodiversity.
“On this day, we acknowledge the abundant natural resources Ghana is endowed with, which include about 5,429 plant species, 327 species of mammals, 794 bird species, 377 species of amphibians and reptiles and 925 species of butterflies.
“As a people, we depend on these resources for our livelihood and survival. We must, therefore, work assiduously to conserve, restore and sustainably utilise our biodiversity resources in the spirit of sustainable development,” he added.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the government had instituted some policy initiatives to mitigate threats to biodiversity loss and cited the development of the
National Biodiversity Policy, the designation of 18 national wildlife protected areas, the designation of 266 forests in most of the major ecological zones in the country as reserves and the establishment of Community Resource Management Areas (CREMAs) as some major actions taken by the government towards environmental protection.
Also, he said there were about 371 sacred groves across the country.
For her part, the Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources (MSWR), Mrs Cecilia Abena Dapaah, said it was important for all stakeholders to protect the environment by observing good sanitation practices.
Meanwhile, Ghana continues to grapple with daunting environmental challenges such as illegal mining, popularly called galamsey, illegal logging, deforestation and bush burning that destroy the environment and biodiversity.
A conspiracy among scrap metal dealers, drivers of rickety vehicles, butchers who use lorry tyres to singe slaughtered animals and food vendors who cook in open spaces, using charcoal and firewood, leaves many parts of Accra with polluted air.
Fumes from old, rickety moving vehicles also leave the streets of Accra and other towns inundated with toxic gases that pose serious health risks to the public.
A study on air quality funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in February this year revealed that the quality of air in the Greater Accra Region was above acceptable World Health Organisation (WHO) standards by over 300 per cent.
Source: Daily Graphic
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