A Rocha Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) has called for a thoughtful and sustainable planning towards the effective implementation of policies, to restore ecosystem of rivers in the country.
The NGO noted that it was imperative to transform the economies and societies by restoring water bodies for economic development.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director of A Rocha, Mr Daryl Bosu, copied the Ghanaian Times, in Accra, to commemorate the World Rivers Day (WRD), said “the importance of river ecosystem cannot be underestimated and if we continue on the current path, there will be dire consequences for all of us and those yet unborn.”
The WRD is marked on September 25, to highlight the many values of rivers, strives to increase public awareness and encourages the improved stewardship of all rivers around the world.
This year’s WRD focused on “Waterways in our communities” with the sub-topic “a river can make the difference”, which highlights the incredible natural, cultural and recreational values of rivers and streams in our communities.
Mr Bosu said celebrating the day also underlined the importance of sustainable management of the country’s river environment in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly two (Zero hunger), three (Good health and well-being), six (Clean water and sanitation), seven (Affordable and clean energy) and eight (Decent work and economic growth),
He also mentioned SDG11 (Sustainable cities and communities 12 (Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns), 13 (Climate Action), 14 (Life below Water) and 15 (Life on Land).
Mr Bosu was of the view that commemorating the day called “for a national reflection on how rivers and waterways are valued and managed in Ghana.”
He said the constant severe degradation of Ghana’s rivers, reflected a pattern that has persisted especially in the recent decades.
Mr Bosu stated that in an attempt to secure the country’s water resources, there was the need to halt illegal mining, commonly known as ‘galamsey’, which was the leading cause of destruction of river systems in the country.
He said, according to the Water Resources Commission, 60 per cent of Ghana’s water bodies were polluted with many in a critical condition, adding that high level of unmanaged hazardous chemical waste such as mercury had been released into the rivers.
Mr Bosu called for an increased reclamation of wetlands and waterways for built residential estates and construction of fuel filling stations.
“Integrated planning and management must be prioritised towards the conservation of rivers and waterways, which will enable them to be utilised in a way that ensures the different needs and priorities of diverse user groups are met, as well as ensuring intergenerational equity is not overlooked,” Mr Bosu added.
He called for buffer protection, tree planting and the exclusion of waste and construction encroachment to restore the severely degraded river ecosystem.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU