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Department of Parks and Gardens cleared? …140 trees, 5,000 flowers etc cut down for construction of multi-purpose office complex

MORE than 140 trees covering a large swath of land have been cut down at the Department of Parks and Gardens (DPG) to pave way for a private multi-purpose office complex in Cantonments, Accra, a visit by the Ghanaian Times to the DPG on Tuesday in Accra has revealed.

At the time of the paper’s visit, the debris of the cut down trees had been cleared with construction material like sand, concrete blocks and gravels on site for the commencement of work. The Ghanaian Times gathered that about 5,000 flowers and other ornamental plants were destroyed leaving that place bare and barricaded.

It was also noticed that foundation works had already began. When authorities at the DPG were contacted, they said they did not have authority to comment on the matter, saying they do not know who ordered the trees to be cut down but believed it was an order ‘from above’ and that the place had been sold out to a yet to be known developer.

The area which hosts the offices of the DPG is the largest garden in Accra, with many species of trees and flowers. The 10acre land is home to not only beautiful trees, but also birds and small animals. Describing the situation as worrying, the cam- paign leader of Eco-concerned citizens, an eco friendly pressure group, Awula Serwah called for a national campaign against the incessant felling of trees.

Miss Serwah said the development was of great concern and that at a time when Ghana has been described as a country losing its forest belt at a faster rate than any other country in the world, “environmental vandalism was taking place at Parks and Gardens.” She said of late, it was not uncommon to see concrete building replacing trees in the country noting that “Accra is becoming a concrete jungle.” She called on government to come clean on lands in Accra that have been designated as parks and open spaces, adding that the information would help know land earmarked for open spaces from being built upon.

Awula Serwaa also called on the officials at DPG to update their plans to combat the effects of glob- al warming and feedback on national tree planting campaign. The group has since April 30, 2019 petitioned the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to as a matter of urgency, preserve the land for what it has been intended for. The DPG was established in 1988 with the responsibility of developing the country’s landscape as well as the preservation and beautification of the environment.

Some of the functions of the Department in- clude the promotion of landscape beautification of built and natural environment and collaborate with Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to develop programmes for floral beautification of cities and towns.

Additionally, it promotes ecotourism to generate revenue for the Assemblies and jobs for the youth and pursue actions to combat the effects of global warming by promoting a national tree planting campaign involving all stakeholders.

The Department also initiates programmes to identify threatened economic and ornamental plants for multiplication and conservation and in addition promote public education on their conservation and importance of plants for human survival.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMAAH FOLLEY

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