fbpx

Greening Ghanaian cities

BY: Gabriel Adukpo
The Green Ghana Project is a great green pillar
The Green Ghana Project is a great green pillar

A friend of mine got excited when he was offered a course in engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi. During the first weekend of reporting, he and two mates hired a taxi to take them round the city to see important places. When they returned to campus they asked: “Where is the garden?”

Indeed, the three students had known Kumasi as the Garden City of West Africa. What they did not envisage was that it was the entire city being referred to as such.

The description of Kumasi in the 1940s could easily be likened to a garden city by all standards due to its beautiful green areas.

Yet it was Queen Elizabeth who gave Kumasi the accolade: Garden City of West Africa.

Queen Elizabeth II was on official visit to Ghana in 1961. Her Majesty visited Kumasi and admired how the city was built within a forested landscape.

According to historian Sarfo Kantanka “Due to the greenery of Kumasi, Queen Elizabeth described the place as a garden city”.
City authorities in Kumasi then had enacted bye laws to protect various trees. The plants would not be cut, grubbed or mutilated in any way without permission. An accidental felling of a tree was like bereavement. That was the extent to which residents treasured the greenery.

Leverage

It therefore makes sense for cities to leverage on the Green Ghana Project for their beautification. This is because the said initiative is basically an afforestation project seeking to halt deforestation and restore degraded lands.

But land degradation is particularly accelerated in human settlements. The Green Ghana Project will thus serve the cities well if it is adapted to the peculiar habitats.

In the meantime, let us pay special attention to the 16 regional capitals. Greening them is tantamount to beautifying them.

Unlike farmlands and forests where a continuous band of land is to be planted with trees, cities have selected areas to be planted.

Each city has its own road network, built environment and distribution of infrastructure and services. A unique motley of green landscape is expected to be produced accordingly. The situation has to be analysed well and planned, not from the centre but from each action point.

Decentralsed planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation are needed with the right leadership of the Environmental Protection Agency, Parks and Gardens, Town and Country Planning, Ghana Education Service, traditional councils, the media, nursery operators and other interest groups.

Activity

An important activity in the series is nursery work. Here, assorted tree seedlings, shrubs and grasses are raised in sufficient quantities and sizes.

A culture of post-planting care has to be instilled in city dwellers. It will be appropriate to organise inter school flower garden competitions. Electoral areas too must be assessed on how well they maintain the plants in their jurisdictions. This can culminate into inter-city green city competitions.

No one can deny the fact that almost every household uses charcoal and/or firewood for cooking. This translates into several hectares of forest loss every year.

The Green Ghana Project is therefore a logical solution. Every city dweller should be a watchdog against those who may vandalise valuable plant species.

Officialdom would do us good by facilitating the production of cheap, energy-saving and pollution-free cooking stoves. Solar energy must be further harnessed and liquefied petroleum gas made affordable.

It should become obvious that greening our cities is a year-long and annual affair. Everyone is called upon to commit to it.

The writer is an Agriculturist and Freelance Writer. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.