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EPA DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF FELLED TREES, PRESIDENT PETITIONED

General News

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied knowledge of the trees that have been cut down at Parks and Gardens in Cantonments, Accra. This revelation was made by the NGOs Africans For (AF) and Eco-Conscious Citizens GH (ECC GH), in a statement issued in Accra yesterday.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied knowledge of the trees that have been cut down at Parks and Gardens in Cantonments, Accra. This revelation was made by the NGOs Africans For (AF) and Eco-Conscious Citizens GH (ECC GH), in a statement issued in Accra yesterday.

 

Awula Serwah, the co-ordinator of both groups, said enquiries made at the EPA showed the felling of trees at Cantonments did not have approval from the institution.

“It beggars belief that about 140 trees were destroyed on land owned by a government department whose mandate is to promote tree planting,” Awula Serwah said.

With this revelation, the groups’ use of the expression “environmental vandalism” to describe the destruction of various species of trees and plants on Parks and Gardens land, has been proved apt but inconclusive, because it appears no institution is prepared to take responsibility for the decision.

Hands off the land

Though the EPA said it had no hand in felling the trees, harm has still been done. As such, AF and ECC GH have made it clear that their advocacy will not end without members seeing the land be left untouched.

The lands were set aside for the purpose of vegetation and not concrete buildings, the societies argue. They have gone ahead and now petitioned the President to become involved in the matter.

“We want to ensure that Parks and Gardens lands are protected for botanical purposes and not appropriated for buildings,” Awula Serwah said. “Any PPP agreement on that land should be environmentally focused, and there should be ‘no concrete’ structure.
“If Parks and Gardens needs new offices, these can be developed where the current offices stand. If the Ministry for Local Government needs space for its other functions, it can either refurbish a dilapidated government building or develop underused government land.
“It is unacceptable to appropriate land earmarked for growing trees and plants,” she said.

No concrete jungles

The information given to the groups was that the department initially had ten acres of land, which have shrunk over the years as a result of activities such as putting up buildings.

AF and ECC GH have asked the Lands Commission for a list of areas designated for parks and open spaces in Accra, so that there is transparency, and so that lands earmarked for open space are not used for other purposes.

“We want to ensure that remaining Parks and Gardens lands, and areas earmarked for open spaces in Accra, are used for greenery, and not for buildings or the expansion of Accra’s concrete jungle,” the groups say.

Air pollution

The EPA said air pollution kills about 20,000 people annually. As such, it is important that Ghana cultivates trees, which increase the supply of oxygen and help purify the air by absorbing carbon dioxide, and not fell them to make room for more buildings.

Ms Serwah said: “The importance of trees to our health cannot be overstated. Ghanaians need access to well-managed parks to unwind, relax and enjoy nature.
“God placed us in the Garden of Eden and asked us to take care of it for a reason. Accra cannot just be a city of apartment blocks and shopping malls. Every municipal area should have a decent park or two.
“The next generation will not forgive us for mortgaging their future by destroying our environment and turning it into a concrete jungle.”