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Gandawi chiefs alarmed over depletion of environment

Accra, April 2, GNA – The chiefs of Gandawi Traditional Area have expressed worry over the wanton depletion of the environment through bad farming practices, commercial charcoal production and illegal logging among other destructive activities.

« It is an undeniable fact that majority of our people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Unfortunately, the very environment, which supports the cultivation of crops and the rearing of animals is being destroyed by farmers, commercial charcoal producers and illegal loggers, » Kuoro Bamula Basinjia Chieminah III, the Chief of Kandia, said.

Kuoro Chieminah expressed the worry on behalf of his colleagues during the Ninth Annual « Gandawi Naabahilime » Festival of the chiefs and people of the Gandawi Traditional Area in the Sissala West District of the Upper West Region.

The festival was on the theme: « Protecting Our Environment: A Shared Responsibility ».

He said: « It is sad to note that many farmers in the Gandawi Traditional Area engage in bad farming practices such as bush burning, uprooting and burning of economic trees including the Shea and Dawadawa trees among other negative practices, which lead to the massive destruction of the vegetative cover. »

Kuoro Chieminah said the environmental threat was compounded by the over exploitation of tree resources for lumber and the production of charcoal for sale to communities down south.

He said it was against this backdrop that the chiefs and elders of Gandawi Area thought of the need to protect the environment and reverse the fast degradation by giving it the utmost priority.

He assured the people that the chiefs of Gandawi were committed to redoubling their efforts to sensitise farmers and other stakeholders on the sustainable exploitation of their environmental resources.

He appealed for the support of the farmers, Forestry Department, Environmental Protection Agency and the Sissala West District Assembly to support efforts at sustaining the environment.

Mr Amidu Chinnia Issahaku, the Acting Upper West Regional Minister, called for a collective effort by all to tackle the issue since the environmental degradation challenges could not be addressed by one individual or community alone.

He said government was also playing its part through the introduction of a number of policies to tackle some of those environmental challenges.

He mentioned the introduction of the Sanitation Guards Model in some cities to ensure citizens complied with standard sanitary conditions in homes, fight against illegal mining and the launching of the new sanitation strategy as some efforts by government to safeguard the environment.

Mr Issahaku advised the people to endeavour to undertake an assessment of the strategies to see where they fell short so as to re-strategies for the next celebration.

The « Gandawi Naabahilime » Festival was initiated in 2010 to enable sons and daughters of the area to re-enact the heroic traditional exploits of their forebears, which the younger generation could appreciate and learn from.