Sunday, June 7, 2009

Climate change affects the vulnerable

Ms. Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, has observed that the poor and marginalised in society are often vulnerable to the impact of climate change such as water stress, water quality degradation, floods and drought.She said her Ministry was committed to addressing such challenges through collaborative programmes with the people. Ms. Ayittey made the observation, at the weekend, at a durbar organised by her sector ministry, to mark the celebration of World Environment Day, at Duase in the Bosome Freho District of the Ashanti Region.The function, which was on the theme: "Your Planet Needs You- Unite to Combat Climate Change," was attended by traditional rulers, assembly members, and heads of decentralised departmentsMs. Ayittey noted that most communities rely on climate-sensitive sectors such as agriculture and fishing for survival, hence the focus of the celebration to encourage more people to undertake tree planting and afforestation projects to help protect the environment. She said the national theme of the Day, "Plant and Nurture a Tree to Green Ghana", was aimed at establishing forests to absorb carbon dioxide emissions.Ms Ayittey entreated communities living along Lake Bosomtwe, to embark on massive tree planting along the banks, to control siltation and evaporation of the water resource, which is a fine tourist attraction. Mr Jonathan A. Allotey, Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, said agriculture, logging, eco-tourism, pastoralism, mining and other activities of the formal and informal sectors of the economy, could be affected by climate change.He said cocoa production would be severely affected as a result of decreased rain fall with a correspondent decrease in soil fertility and increase in temperatures, disease incidences and pathogens. Nana Esiaba Hagan, Country and Environment Co-ordinator of the Standard Chartered Bank, said the Bank was focussed on the environment and climate change to ensure sustainable development. She announced that the Bank in collaboration with the Forestry Commission, had nursed 2,000 seedlings for distribution to communities for planting, while 20,000 seedlings of various species would be available this year for large scale planting. Communities living along Lake Bosomtwe would be supplied with 5,000 seedlings for planting.Barima Offe Okogyeaso, Omanhene of Kokofu Traditional Area, appealed to traditional rulers and community heads to supervise and monitor the planting of trees to help protect the environment from destruction.

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