The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has launched the 2023 edition of the Green Ghana Day in Kumasi with a call on Ghanaians to massively participate in the planting of various tree species to sustain the environment and protect the ecosystem.
He noted that the importance of trees to human life and the protection of water bodies could not be overemphasised, which was why he had led the crusade for the tree planting exercise since the Green Ghana Project commenced in 2021.
The Asantehene stated that the increasing rate of forest degradation must be a worry to all Ghanaians and advocated sustainable measures to protect trees.
Available data suggests that deforestation and forest degradation arising from unsustainable land use for agriculture, illegal mining and illegal logging cost the nation some 2.8 per cent of Gross Domestic Product.
He expressed worry over the non-compliance with environmental sustainability by some citizens despite the government’s efforts in curbing environmental challenges, which could be costly.
“It is very sad that despite the several measures the Government has been putting in place to curb this menace, illegal logging and illegal mining continues to pose a threat to our forests,’’ he said.
“The Government cannot do it alone, we must all support it,” he said.
“I am particularly not happy with chiefs in the Amansie area where galamsey has taken over the land…. And you say you have not noticed.”
“If you sit there and claim you do not know what is happening, then you are not fit to be a chief over there. We have to enforce the laws, and I have to start with my chiefs.”
“We all as Ghanaians have to take matters seriously to be able to bring this to an end because I cannot accept it.”
This year’s Green Ghana Day, scheduled for June 9, will be held on the theme: “Our Forests, Our Health,” with a target to plant 10 million tree seedlings.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu commended the Ashanti Region for leading in the numbers of trees planted in the last two years.
Out of the 31 million trees planted (2021/2022), the region planted 7.8 million which makes it the highest among all the regions.
Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said so far out of the 31 million tree seedlings planted in the last two years, the survival rates had been 81 and 72 per cent in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
He said Ghanaians had been supportive in the project so far, commending everyone for their active involvement and called for more support in this year’s planting exercise.