Protection of biodiversity is essential for poverty reduction – Ayittey

Ms. Sherry Ayittey - Environment Minister

Madam Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, noted on Wednesday that the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity as a means for the eradication of extreme poverty has become a global challenge in recent times.

She said the protection of biodiversity is an essential element in the fight against poverty because about 70 per cent of the world’s poor lived in rural areas and depended directly on biodiversity for their survival.

The Minister made the observation when she launched the annual celebration of the Environmental Science Students’ Association (ENSSA) at the University of Cape Coast (UCC).

She identified the loss of biodiversity as one major factor that hampered the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The week long programme is on the theme; “Our Environment, Our life, Our Responsibility”.

She said environmental degradation was a major survival issue which needed the understanding and cooperation of all citizens to eradicate.

This is because it provided not only food and fibre but also raw materials for medicine and offered clues to the development of advanced technology, she said.

She therefore expressed worry that humans were consuming more than nature could generate and also producing faster than the earth’s system could process.

Madam Ayittey reminded the public that noise pollution was another form of environmental degradation and hinted that her Ministry was coming up with a policy to reduce excessive noise making which she described as a “nuisance”.

She expressed concern about the rate at which water bodies were being polluted and warned that if the trend continued, Ghana may have to import water in the near future.

Madam Ayittey called for reclamation of the coastal lines through tree planting to help preserve the country’s beaches.

The Minister called on the Association to sensitize the communities in and around the University to endeavour to treat the environment with circumspection and gave the assurance that her Ministry was prepared to partner them in combating environmental degradation.

Michael Kyei Agyekum, President of ENSSA, said the Association was committed to maintaining a green environment because the earth had become fragile due to the numerous land and air pollution.

He advised members to act as stewards for the environment to make the Green Ghana dream a reality.

Reverend Prof. Benjamin Abotchie Ntreh, Dean of Students, who chaired the function, advised them to take a holistic stance on environmental issues by discussing all factors that encompassed its degradation and further destroyed biodiversity.

He said the recent constant pollution of the country’s water bodies was a real threat to survival and expressed optimism that ENSSA’s advocacy to improve Ghana’s ecosystem and its biodiversity would be sustained.

Source: GNA

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