EPA supports Asanteman restoration programme

BY: Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last Friday presented a number of items to the Asante Kingdom Land Restoration Programme to support its activities to protect water bodies in the region.

The restoration programme is a partnership between the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, and the Oheneba Poku Foundation to plant over three million trees around river bodies in the Ashanti Region for the next five years.

The items donated included 1,000 pieces of machetes, 400 pairs of wellington boots and 200 pieces of plastic watering cans.

Presenting the items, the Executive Director of the EPA, Mr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, said the items were to help the programme with its restoration activities, particularly along Lake Bosomtwe.

The programme, since its inception about two years ago, has embarked on a vigorous tree planting and sensitisation programme along Lake Bosomtwe, to stop the nefarious human activities threatening the life of the lake.

Mr Kokofu said as part of its mandate, the agency had been providing technical and logistical support to the programme, to ensure that it achieved its objective of protecting the lake.

He said the agency as well as the Water Resources Commission (WRC) and the Forestry Commission (FC) had over the years been collaborating to support the programme to conserve the environment.

Behaviour change

He acknowledged that even though lots of organisations had been sensitising the public to the need to protect the environment and not to encroach on forest reserves, people were still adamant and had been flouting the law.

That notwithstanding, he said there was the need to continue with the education and let the people understand the need not to encroach on water bodies or build in waterways, rather than waiting for them to flout the law and try to punish them.

“People’s appreciation of natural resources is key in any maintenance or management strategy. So no matter the punishment, if you don’t get the psyche right, if you do not orientate the people to understand and appreciate the importance of water bodies, the importance of quality air, land use and soil quality, you will not get anywhere.”

“Yes we have the laws backing us to ensure compliance, protection and even enforce the law to the point of meting out punitive sanctions. But we strongly believe that it is about time we stepped up the awareness creation,” he stated.

Media

Mr Kokofu appealed to the media to partner other stakeholders such as the district assemblies, the EPA and FC and other relevant bodies to educate the public on the need to stay away from water bodies and protect natural resources for the benefit of humanity.

Receiving the items, the Otumfuo’s Samanhene, Nana Osei Kwaku III, said he was grateful to EPA for the gesture to assist the programme in its activities.