The Paramount Chief of Efutu Traditional Area, Neenyi Ghartey VII has asked the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission to stringently enforce policies safeguarding mangroves across the country in order to ward off destroyers.
He said that was the only way sanctions could be effectively applied on offenders to serve as deterrent to others.
Mangroves are trees or shrubs which grow in tidal or coastal swamps, having numerous tangled roots that grow above the ground and form dense thickets.
Neenyi Ghartey VII said this when a team of personnel from theInternational Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Media Platform on Environment and Climate Change (MPEC), the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and some journalists paid a courtesy call on him on the sidelines of a mangrove tour recently at Winneba in the Central region.
“The legislations and policies are too much. We will keep writing and talking but if actions follow these, people cutting down the mangroves will stop doing so,” he stated.
He said lots of people were oblivious of the importance of mangroves for which reason they misused them instead of conserving them.
“Mangroves are liked not because they form the basis or one of the important ingredients in getting fishes but because of their usage in processing fish. They also serve as habitats for some shell fishes as well as some other benefits,” he stated.
“But most people do not know the actual uses of mangroves so when you tell them not to cut the mangroves then you seem to be an enemy or have said something against them,” he added.
Neenyi Ghartey VII said that was what needed a reversal as we could also use mangroves for smoking fishes if they were preserved.
“So this year on the green Ghana day we planted some mangroves but it was not enough because if you go to an area like Akosua village, they intensively use mangroves for fish processing,” he added.
The Paramount Chief of the Efutu Traditional Area underscored that the constant destruction of mangroves in recent times was not the case of old as he could go crab hunting with his friends when they were young under these mangroves.
“Today the lagoon is bare and you can see the fringes of the lagoon plane just like that but it was not like that when we were young,” he stated.
“Education must go on but at times I feel it is not education, they know why wildlife does not allow them to cut the mangroves but it is like selfishly they want to take advantage because they live close to them so if they are any benefits they should get it,” he added.
Neenyi Ghartey VII said his traditional area would not take such activities for granted and would endeavour to do more planting.
Responding to the Chief’s call, the Operation’s Manager of Wetland under the Wildlife Division, of the Forestry Commission, Mr Dickson Agyeman pledged that they would see to the enforcement of policies for the effective protection of mangroves.
FROM ABIGAIL ARTHUR, WINNEBA