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Government takes steps to protect wetlands – Minister

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has signalled the government’s determination to effectively protect wetlands across the country.

As part this, a stakeholder management committee was going to be inaugurated to engage with the other bodies to halt the wanton destruction of designated areas of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

He announced this at ceremony held at the Densu Delta Ramsar Site in Accra, to mark the 25th anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

The theme chosen for this year’s event was “Celebrating 25 years of action for biodiversity”.

It sought to highlight progress made in the achievement of biodiversity objectives at the national and global levels.

Prof Frimpong-Boateng noted that Ghana had failed to understand, appreciate and respond correctly to the relationship between wetlands, recreation and tourism.

The people had done a lot of damage to nature through their activities including encroachment on reserved areas, destroying mangroves, dumping waste into marine bodies and degrading the forest.

He touched on the destruction of the mangrove at the Densu Delta Ramsar Site, and said mangroves were important resources that served as nursery areas for commercially important species and supported a number of threatened and endangered species, and that was why, they needed to be preserved.

“We have to be careful with the way we are actively destroying our natural environment. Because it is threatening our survival and we may need to migrate somewhere as it is happening to the people of Chad.”

He cited the Ekumfi communities, in the Central Region, where some of the young people had been forced to migrate to Senegal and Gambia to fish because they claimed there was no fish in their part of the sea.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said if well protected wetlands could be a vital source of income and support livelihoods, locally and nationally.

They also provide other services – water, food, water purification, erosion control and carbon sequestration.

He added that there were many wetlands in Ghana “with great recreational and tourism value for which monetary figure cannot easily be given because many visitors may use these areas without direct payment”.

Mr. Micheal Odartey-Wellington, Manager of Panbros, said the company thad been able to protect some wetlands and that had greatly contributed in the flourishing of flora and fauna, particularly migratory birds including the tern, flying ducks, herons, and kingfisher.

“The birds are a vital part of biodiversity and play a critical role in all ecosystems.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, the wetlands have experienced rapid destruction from encroachers who are destroying the mangroves and also filling up the wetlands for the construction of buildings.”

He noted that there had been noticeable decline in the migratory birds and blamed human activities for that.

He called for the government to take steps to save the Densu Delta Wetlands.

Source: GNA

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