Some students planting trees at  the Abuakwa State College at Kyebi
Some students planting trees at the Abuakwa State College at Kyebi
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Towards Green Ghana Day: Tree planting initiative launched in E/R

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has launched the 2024 edition of the "One Student, One Tree" initiative as part of the Green Ghana Day event slated for Friday.

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The Green Ghana Day is marked to inspire the public to plant trees as part of efforts to restore the country’s vegetation cover. The Okyenhene, Osagyefo Amoatia Ofori Panin, who launched the initiative jointly with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, at the Abuakwa State College at Kyebi in the Eastern Region yesterday, called on the public to demonstrate their love for the environment and humanity by planting at least one tree on the day.

He said there was a symbiotic relationship between the environment and human existence, for which reason all persons must prioritise tree planting and other initiatives that sought to restore the country’s degraded landscape.

The Okyenhene also stressed the need for collective efforts by stakeholders to halt human activities that destroy the environment since failure to do so would put future generations at risk of extinction.

"We are all witnesses to how climate change is devastating the world, including Ghana. If we continue to be reckless in our relationship with the environment by cutting down trees and destroying our land and water bodies for selfish gains, we will all perish; so let us act to save ourselves and the planet," he said.

Present at the event were the Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong; the Municipal Chief Executive for Abuakwa South, Akosua Asabea Annor; the Chairman of the Green Ghana project and former Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio; the Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, and other officials of the ministry and the Forestry Commission.

Shortly after the launch, the Osagyefo led the way to plant a tree to commemorate the commencement of the exercise. Mr Jinapor and other key personalities also joined the students to plant trees on the premises of Abuakwa State College. 

Protecting forests

The Okyenhene also said that there was the need to give the forest fallow periods to regenerate by not tampering with it on some days of the week. "Our forefathers knew how important forests and rivers are and that is why they made taboos that prohibited people from entering the forest on certain days of the week. Let us learn from this and preserve our forests," he added.

The chief also suggested that farms be demarcated 200 metres away from water bodies to help protect the resource from pollution. 

Significance

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources explained that it was in respect of the critical role trees play in human existence that the government decided that all second cycle schools across the country fully participate in the tree planting exercise on the Green Ghana Day.

"We want to inculcate in the students the habit of protecting our environment, protecting our water bodies and our lands against destruction," Mr Jinapor said. The minister urged stakeholders who would plant trees as part of the Green Ghana project to ensure that those trees were nurtured to help restore lost vegetation.

Providing historical context to the urgency of the Green Ghana Project, Mr Jinapor reminded all of the nation's precarious situation regarding forest reserve protection and the progress made with the planting of over 42 million trees since 2021.

“Trees act as the lungs of our planet, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They provide habitats for countless species, prevent soil erosion and contribute to the water cycle.

“Planting trees is an investment in natural infrastructure that sustains life on earth,” he added. The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Acheampong, also said that involvement of students in the exercise was crucial as it would help to ensure sustainability in environmental protection.

For her part, Ms Annor described the decision to include students in the project as appropriate since it would imbibe in the students the value of planting trees and protecting the environment.

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