“Asantehene Unveils Green Ghana Day in Kumasi, Condemns Devastating Consequences of Illegal Mining”

Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II expressed his dissatisfaction with the rampant illegal mining that has devastated lands in the Amansie area of the Ashanti Region. He announced his intention to visit the area and demand answers from local chiefs who allowed this menace to destroy their lands. Speaking at the launch of the 2023 edition of Green Ghana Day, a government initiative aimed at aggressively restoring degraded lands and depleted forest reserves, the Asantehene emphasized the need for accountability.

He criticized the chiefs in the Amansie area, stating that if they claim ignorance about the illegal mining activities, they are not fit to hold their positions. He pledged to address this issue and insisted that both the chiefs and the government must take responsibility for combating the problem. The Asantehene announced his plans to personally inspect the affected areas and hold the chiefs accountable for their role in allowing the destruction to occur.

The impact of illegal mining, illicit logging, climate change, and other forms of environmental degradation have contributed to Ghana’s significant forest loss. According to the Global Forest Watch, Ghana has lost 1.4 million hectares of tree cover between 2001 and 2021, with over 160,000 hectares lost within 2010-2015. This loss exceeds the number of trees planted between 1963 and 2016. The Ashanti Region, despite planting over 7 million trees, the highest among all regions, during the Green Ghana Day initiatives, continues to face significant challenges from illegal small-scale mining.

The Asantehene expressed alarm over the persistence of illegal mining despite government efforts to address the issue. He emphasized the need for collective action and support from all stakeholders to effectively combat this menace. In the past two years, Ghana has planted over 30 million trees to restore degraded lands and depleted forest cover, with 23 million of those trees surviving. However, for the upcoming third edition of Green Ghana Day, the government has reduced its target to 10 million tree seedlings to allow adequate attention and resources for the maintenance of previously planted trees.

The Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, highlighted the connection between mining and forests, emphasizing the importance of balancing the exploitation of mineral resources with environmental protection and human rights. The government and stakeholders have revised the target for this year’s Green Ghana Day to prioritize the care of existing trees.

Under the theme “Our Forests, Our Health,” the 2023 Green Ghana Day aims to raise awareness about the vital role of forests in maintaining good health. Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson, the Vice Chancellor of KNUST, highlighted the health and social benefits of trees, including their potential to provide chemical compounds that help fight diseases. She called on citizens to actively engage in tree planting.

The third edition of Green Ghana Day is scheduled to take place on June 9, 2023.

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