Hon. Lydia Lamisi, MP for Tempane has made a suggestion to the Parliament on how to make good use of the parks and gardens to generate income for the country based on ecotourism.
According to her on the floor of Parliament, Parks and Gardens, which is now a Department under the Ministry of Local Government, was established by President Kwame Nkrumah in 1961. It was a Ministry under Cabinet Minister Mr. E N Ocansey, and was responsible for the development of the nation’s landscape and the preservation and beautification of the environment. Unfortunately, over the years, portions of Parks and Gardens lands have been appropriated for concrete structures.
Making her statement, Hon. Lydia said, Mr. Speaker, the Department’s functions include:
Promoting landscape beautification
Acquiring lands to establish public parks and promote ecotourism to generate revenue for Assemblies and jobs for the youth.
Pursuing actions to combat the effects of global warming by promoting a national tree planting campaign involving all stakeholders.
Collaborating with the Botany Department of the University of Ghana and other stakeholders to document the country’s flora, to develop and maintain a national information facility for sharing digital biodiversity data, Initiating programs to identify threatened economic and ornamental plants for multiplication and conservation. In addition, the department will promote public education on their conservation and importance of plants for human survival.
Conservation of threatened plants and restoration of plants diversity as well as communicating its importance under the Global strategy for plants conservation programs.
Mr. Speaker, Covid-19 has taught us the importance of green spaces for our health and well-being and we need to protect the few open spaces that remain in our sprawling cities. Global warming is a reality and we can fight it by planting trees that purify the air and provide shade, not by felling precious trees.
Mr. Speaker, open space as we all know is now becoming difficult to locate these days in our urban areas, hence the indiscriminate parking of vehicles on our roads. This ends up narrowing our inner city roads which contributes highly to increasing motor accidents in our inner city as a result of double parking.
Mr. Speaker, Ghanaians including environmental groups like Eco-Conscious Citizens are asking for assurances that Parks & Gardens lands will be kept for the Green Economy. The land is essential for sustainable horticultural, botanical and environmentally-focused use. Assurances are sought that the area will not be rezoned from Green Civic to exclusively Civic to make room for extending the concrete jungle with another multi-story office building.
Mr. Speaker, this should not be accepted by any well-meaning Ghanaian, where the limited space acquired for the purposes of parks and gardens should be allowed by government or any individual to use them for construction purposes. Mr. Speaker the famous Kawukudi parkin Accra and the green Subsunde Bulpielsi parkt in Tempane are gradually losing their existence, this is totally unacceptable and should be condemned by all and those involved should be responsible.
Mr. speaker in view of the Climate Emergency and the fact that one of the functions of Parks and Gardens is to combat the effects of global warming by promoting a national tree planting campaign, it is astonishing that environmental vandalism took place at Parks and Gardens in 2019. It is alleged that over 140 trees and 5000 plants were destroyed to make way for a concrete structure. When Eco-Conscious Citizens GH visited the site, sand, stone and building materials were seen on the cleared portion of Parks and Gardens land. According to the Environmental Protection Agency it did not give permission for the felling of the trees.
Mr. Speaker, the Department of Parks and Gardens should be empowered to fulfil its remit of developing the nation’s landscape and the preservation and beautification of the environment. At a time when Ghana’s forests are disappearing at an alarming rate and cities like Accra and Kumasi are becoming concrete jungles, Parks and Gardens should be at the forefront of defending the country against the relentless southwards movement of the Sahara, and taking a leadership role in promoting the health benefits of trees and nature.
Lands Commission should provide a list of areas designated as parks and open spaces in Accra. This information will help ensure that further lands meant for public gardens and open spaces are not appropriated and used to expand Accra’s concrete jungle.
Covid-19 and Global warming dictate that we preserve our green spaces.
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