PRESIDENT John Dramani Mahama has charged the Ghana National Fire Service and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), to train more volunteers across the country to help prevent bushfires.
That, he said, would go a long way to complement government’s efforts towards protecting lives.
The President made the remarks in a speech read on his behalf at the launch of the 2015/2016 National Bushfire Prevention Campaign on the theme, “Sustaining the environment through bushfire prevention,” at Agona Nyakrom in the Central Region.
He said the control and prevention of bushfires was important in sustaining the cocoa and timber sectors of the economy, which were major foreign exchange earners for the state.
“The continuous devastation of the forest has led to the extinction of certain species of animals which hitherto were found in the forest. This means as a people we are creating imbalance in the ecosystem and the earlier we find a solution the better it will be for us,” he added.
President Mahama said it was imperative to put in mechanisms such as embarking on re-forestation or tree planting to ensure that the spread of the desert was prevented from advancing close to our national territory.
He stressed the need for a clear understanding of the causes and effects of bushfires so that bushfire policies could be developed to effectively address the problem.
“There has been little or no research and information concerning the frequency, intensity, duration and effects of bushfires on the environment and the way it affects the welfare of the citizenry, hence, it undermines the country’s ability to prevent, control and possibly eliminate bushfire in the country from the threats of drought and desertification,” he noted.
President Mahama called for an end to entrenched agricultural practices and behaviours that had accounted for bushfires, adding that the effects on livelihoods and the ecosystem were becoming extensive and damaging.
The Chief Fire Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service, Dr. Albert Brown-Gaisie, announced that in 2013 and 2014, a total of 1,209 bushfire outbreaks were recorded respectively resulting in the destruction of property worth millions of cedis.
By Abigail Annoh