The Mpraeso Area Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in partnership with Afforestation Volunteers, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) dedicated to environmental issues, is encouraging students in 15 basic schools within the Kwahu South District in the Eastern Region to help sustain the environment.
This forms part of efforts to inculcate in the students the habit of tree planting, particularly the cedella species to protect the environment from degradation.
The schools included Mpraeso Methodist JHS, Mpraeso Roman Catholic JHS, Nana Ampadu Basic A and B, Obo Methodist Primary and JHS, Mpraeso Presbyterian Primary A, Presbyterian JHS A and B, Mpraeso Obomeng Presbyterian School, Asuboni R/C Primary and JHS.
The Mpraeso Area Head of EPA, Mr Sylvester Awozum, said if indiscriminate cutting down of the country's trees without replanting new ones would be minimised, the nation's young people, especially students, must be made to understand the dire consequences of the level of degradation and be educated to help preserve trees.
Speaking after a tree planting exercise, Mr Awozum said although most of the country's forest reserves had been degraded, there was still hope for recovery, adding that the EPA believed the students could play a significant role in changing attitudes and behaviours in restoring the forests.
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World Environment Day
The awareness campaign was part of the activities to mark this year’s World Environment Day, which was celebrated globally on June 5, on the theme: " Clean air, our life line and shared responsibility".
As part of efforts to preserve and ensure the sustainable use of forests and the reforestation of degraded forest sites, the Mpraeso area office of the EPA with the NGO had embarked on campaigns to educate students to be more interested in planting trees and ensure sustainable use of forest resources.
Catch students young
Mr Awozum stressed that it was necessary to "catch the students young" and to get them to understand the methods and best environmental practices and their essence to the survival of the human race.
"The NGO supplied over 2,050 trees to the EPA to undertake the planting exercise. The tree planting exercise will continue throughout June and early July in order to take advantage of the rainy season.
“We targeted to plant over 2,050 trees in the year 2019 but has so far succeeded in planting about 600 trees", he stated.
He said the negative behaviour, including the indiscriminate burning of forests, illegal farming and illegal mining were the major threats to the forest cover which must be discouraged.
"Cutting down trees indiscriminately is a threat to our survival and must be stopped, else, we will all be hit badly", he stressed.
Mr Awozum also advised the students to keep the environment safe for themselves and for generations yet unborn.
He also entreated the students to be good environmental campaigners and ambassadors.
"It is a fact to know that trees and plants cleanse and purify the air we breathe, provide oxygen and absorb certain gaseous pollutants such as ozone and sulfur dioxide (SO2), regulate air temperature, that is making the day time cooler and warm during the nights", Mr Awozum added.