Ghana has marked the World Wetlands Day with a call on the youth to play active roles in the protection of wetlands and keeping the environment clean for the benefit of mankind.
Mr Dickson Yaw Agyeman, Wetlands Operations Manager, Wildlife Division, who made the call, said the involvement of the youth in environmental sustainability programmes was key as they were the future leaders.
The day, celebrated with students of the Klagon Cluster of Schools, saw the inauguration and swearing in of members of Environmental Conservation Club, which aims to protect the environment and ensure that the school compound is kept clean at all times.
February 2 is celebrated every year as World Wetlands Day to create global awareness on the critical role wetlands play in the life of human beings and the ecosystem.
It is also unique as it marked the date the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar on February 2, 1971.
Mr Agyeman said the day was important as it highlights the country’s degraded wetlands ecosystem, which was under threat from encroachment for building purposes and dumping of refuse.
Pollution of wetlands, excessive use of agrochemicals, mining, deforestation, over grazing, population expansion and infrastructural development pose environmental challenges that must be tackled head on within the wetlands areas.
“It is, therefore, imperative that we collectively improve on our water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising the release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse by efficiently and effectively managing our wetlands or Ramsar sites,” Mr Agyeman said.
‘’It is also worthy of note to substantially conserve and protect our Ramsar sites so as to allow them offer their biological services by increasing water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and greatly reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity.’’
Mr Agyeman said this year’s theme: “Wetlands and Biodiversity,” offered a unique opportunity to highlight Wetlands biodiversity, its status, why it matters and promote actions to reverse its loss.
“A threat to wetlands is a threat to basic livelihood and a major concern for vulnerable and threatened species living in a fragile ecosystem.”
The students were educated on the importance of Sakumo Ramsar Site and also planted coconut trees on the school compound.