The Department of Parks and Gardens (DPG) has started the beautification of road medians, shoulders and roundabouts along selected principal streets in the regional capitals.
The exercise, which began about two months ago, has already seen the planting of 25,000 seedlings of ornamental shrubs that produce various colours of flowers for beautification.
The seedlings also include assorted bedding plants and grass that have the ability to prevent soil erosion.
All the seedlings being used for the exercise are nursed by the department at no extra cost, aside from funds spent on the nursing, the planting materials and administrative costs.
In Accra, the seedlings have been planted in the road median from the Ridge Roundabout to the Airport Traffic Light on the Independence Avenue/Liberation Road; from the La Trade Fair to the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel and from the Black Stars Square to the beginning of the J.E.A. Mills Highway, near the Commission on Human Rights and Administration (CHRAJ) Head Office in Accra.
Other areas are the Danquah Roundabout and the roads linking the Kotoka International Airport.
The project can also be seen in Kumasi, Cape Coast, Takoradi, Tamale, Goaso and Bolgatanga.
During a visit to the Ridge Roundabout on the Liberation Road in front of the Jubilee House, the Daily Graphic team observed that shrubs, grass and other ground covers had been planted in the median and the roundabout.
Some trees whose branches obstructed the view of security cameras at different locations had also been pruned to enhance visibility and safety on the road.
Some workers of the DPG who were spotted during the visit to the Ridge Roundabout told the Daily Graphic that they were there to plant shrubs and grass as part of the beautification exercise.
The Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, in January this year, presented some vehicles and equipment to the department to augment its existing fleet.
They included a tipper truck to replace a 30-year-old one, a Toyota Landcruiser Prado, a 4×4 Nissan pick-up, three desktop computers and two laptops.
The rest are 29 mowing machines, three drive mowers, 24 chainsaw machines, 24 grass shapers, four water storage tanks and 11 ladders.
The acting Director of the department, Rev. Charles Ayitey Okine, told the Daily Graphic that the exercise, which was being piloted and gradually being rolled out to cover other parts of Accra and sub-regional levels, was also to champion the President’s initiative to make the country clean and beautiful.
He said the department was also collaborating with the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to identify open spaces to green and create event centres, using Accra as a pilot.
"This exercise with the MMDAs is also ongoing and, in due course, we will showcase them," he said.
He said the creation of the centres and the beautification exercise formed part of the department's contribution to greening the country and addressing the issue of climate change.
He said the department had adopted a system to partner MMDAs to expand the project and also make it sustainable.
Rev. Okine said the DPG was also open to liaising with corporate bodies and individuals to sponsor particular segments to make the beautification project sustainable.
“The Ridge Roundabout planting, for instance, is funded by the Rebekah Foundation, and the rest of the works are the department's initiatives.
“We are calling on the public to help fund some of the segments of the planting and beautification,” he added.
The acting Director of the DPG added that the exercise was also to improve the ambiance and beauty of the environment, while the pruning of the trees was to enhance visibility and safety on roads in Accra.
“Tree branches that have blocked some security cameras are also being pruned.
"At areas where new roads are being constructed, we are collaborating with the road sector agencies to plant shrubs and flowers to beautify them," Rev. Okine said.
He said similar exercises were being undertaken by the department in the various regional capitals.
Rev. Okine said the department was also engaging owners of residential facilities for the DPG to do their landscaping and charge the owners as part of the campaign for people to keep their frontages clean always.
That, he said, was to encourage individual beautification of the environment and also enhance the revenue mobilisation efforts of the department, as more people would come in to buy plants from its nurseries.
Appeal to corporate bodies
He reiterated the call on corporate bodies to support the department in the beautification exercise by adopting medians as part of their corporate social responsibility.
That, he said, would go a long way to improve the environment and help address the issue of climate change.
Rev. Okine said the DPG was collaborating with service providers to ensure that there was harmony, as some of them dug the medians to lay their service lines.
“We have also embarked on education to sensitise the public to the need to protect trees because some people are felling them to create space for advertising purposes,” the acting director said.
The Daily Graphic, in its Wednesday, January 19, 2022 edition, carried a story with the headline: "Bringing back the splendour: Parks and Gardens set for action".
It quoted the DPG as setting February this year to start the beautification of the medians, shoulders and roundabouts of major roads across the country.