Asantehene launches 2023 Green Ghana Day
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has launched this year’s Green Ghana Day project in Kumasi and charged institutions to take responsibility for their role in the continuous degradation of the environment.
He said both the chieftaincy and government institutions could not claim innocence of activities of illegal miners within their respective jurisdictions.
Consequently, the Asantehene has pledged to deal with chiefs who allow illegal mining to fester in their traditional areas without taking any action.
He expressed concerns over the level of land degradation through illegal mining at places such as Amansie and Manso Nkwanta.
“If you sit there and say that you don’t know what is happening, then you are not fit to be a chief,” the Asantehene added.
He urged all citizens to support the government to deal with the menace of illegal mining which was fast degrading the country’s land and forest reserves, adding that “I will have to start with my chiefs while the government also deals with the others. We all have to take matters seriously to deal with the menace”.
The Asantehene commended the government for initiating the tree planting project to reclaim degraded lands, especially mining and illegal logging, including fighting climate change.
He said even before the introduction of the project in 2021, he had initiated a programme in 2019 to plant 2.5 million trees around the Bosomtwe Lake because “I know the importance of trees in the protection of water bodies”.
The Asantehene said aside from its health benefits, the forests also contributed significantly to the economic development of the country.
He, however, said it was unfortunate that despite several measures put in place by the government to curb the menace of land and forest degradation, “illegal logging and mining continue to pose a threat to our forests”.
The Asantehene further appealed to chiefs to lead the charge by getting involved in the Green Ghana project which is on June 9, 2023, and plant trees within their communities.
According to available data, the Ashanti Region has planted the highest number of trees in the country since the project started in 2021.
Out of the 31 million seedlings planted nationwide, he said 7.8 million were planted in this region “and majority of them have survived and doing well”.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, said the project was instituted as part of measures to “curb the incessant degradation of our forest which has been going on for years without any conscious effort to replace them.
He said within a spate of five years - 2010 to 2015, the country lost a total of 160, 210 hectares of forest cover as compared to 157, 300 hectares of forest cultivated between 1967 to 2016.
Thus, the country lost more forest cover within five years than it planted over the 53 years.
The minister said it had, therefore, become necessary that the government adopted aggressive measures to restore the lost forest cover.
Mr Jinapor expressed appreciation to the Asantehene for his continuous support to the programme since its inception and for leading the project in the region.