Parliament suspends sitting to participate in Green Ghana Day

Green Ghana is an initiative of the Green Republic Project and will take place across the country on June 11. Photo Credit: Canada Ghana Chamber of Commerce

There will be no parliamentary proceedings on Friday, June 11 in Ghana’s legislative assembly as lawmakers seek to participate in Green Ghana Day.

The day is an initiative by the government meant to encourage tree-planting and sustainable environment culture. It will be observed across the country by Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).

A statement from Parliament on June 10 said: “The clerk to Parliament is hereby directed to provide the cost of travel in and out for Members of Parliament to participate in the exercise. I want to on behalf of Parliament and on our part pledge support for the Green Ghana Day”.

Green Ghana Day is expected to begin with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia planting trees to kickstart the event. The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Sumana Bagbin is expected to do the same, as would paramount chiefs in Ghana.

Some five million trees are expected to be planted across Ghana. But the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, is also of the view that the occasion provides an opportunity to plant “economic trees”.

“As part of the programme, we are seeking to work out a formula where the trees to be planted will be economic trees. We are talking about the Timber, Wawa, Nim, Rosewood, Shea trees. The rationale for this intervention is so that in planting the trees, we are also making an investment for the future,” Jinapor said, earlier in the week.

On his part, President Akufo-Addo hoped Ghanaians would come to recognise and appreciate human dependence on the ecosystem of healthy trees.

“Our very existence is tied directly to the survival of trees. Without the oxygen that is produced by trees, we cannot survive as humans,” the president said in a promotional ad for the event.

“Alarming” forest depletion

According to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, about 80% of Ghana’s forest areas have been depleted since the turn of the 20th century. This is because the 8,200,000 hectares of forest cover that the country had around 1900 has reduced to 1,600,000 hectares due to destruction.

These practices include illegal mining (galamsey), harvesting trees, agriculture, wildfire, settlements and other human activities.

Providing a briefing on Green Ghana Day in Accra, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources described the situation as, “alarming” and said, “the time for action is now!”

Jinapor pointed out the way out of Ghana’s environmental situation is ” to build the level of consciousness in the country, where tree planting becomes part and parcel of the Ghanaian people”.

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