Juaben (A/R), June 05, GNA-Ghana on Saturday joined the rest of the world to mark the World Environment Day at a ceremony at Juaben in the Ashanti Region on the theme, “Ecosystem Restoration.
“Celebrated globally on June 5 every year, the day is set aside by the United Nations (UN) to inspire worldwide awareness and action to protect the environment.
Organised by the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), the colourful ceremony was attended Traditional Leaders, students, officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the public.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said ecosystem in our part of the world was depleting at an alarming rate due to the over exploitation and unsustainable extraction of resources from the natural environment.
He said a recent World Bank report on Ghana’s Environmental Analysis put the cost of environmental degradation in Ghana per year at an estimated US11 billion.
“The analysis points to the conclusion that environmental degradation and unsustainable natural resource use pose a significant risk to future growth as well as a threat to public and ecosystem health,” he noted.
He said the current generation had the moral obligation to restore and sustainably manage the environment for the next generation to benefit from it.
He used the occasion to direct Planning Authorities in districts, municipalities and the EPA to spearhead the fight against environmental degradation by enforcing the requisite laws and regulations.
The Minister also called on Traditional Leaders to promote and uphold cultural values that go a long way to support the conservation agenda.
“When we destroy our environment, we threaten our existence. When we protect it, we protect ourselves and posterity,” he observed.
He said Ghana’s sustained social development and economic growth was much dependent on the sustainable management of the environment comprising mainly of both renewable and non-renewable sources.
He reiterated government’s commitment to deal with the galamsey menace, adding that his ministry would work closely with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to restore the quality of polluted water bodies, degraded forests and lands.
Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, the Executive Director of EPA, said the celebration was important to efforts at addressing the problem of ecosystem degradation and related environmental challenges.
He expressed concern about the alarming rate of wetlands which served as habitat for fish and wildlife being filled for purposes of construction.
Restoring damaged ecosystems, he said, was an efficient and cost-effective way people could work with nature to address the most pressing challenges humanity is facing today.
Nana Otuo Siriboe II, the Paramount Chief of Juaben Traditional Area who chaired the event applauded the Ministry for the many steps being taken to protect the environment.
He said that was the way to go as a country to tackle the devastating effects of climate change which had become a global threat.
He pledged his commitment to support all government policies aimed at restoring the environment to its natural state, disclosing plans by the Traditional Council to plant one million trees as part of activities to mark his 50th anniversary on the throne.