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Sunday, February 5, 2023

Environmental Protection: Youth serving as watchdog against logging as S/R REGSEC races to halt deforestation

First, it was the closure of wood processing centres dotted in the hearts of forest reserves, then a ban on the felling of all three species but the Savannah Regional Coordinating Council has revised its list of restrictions in protecting the environment and this time, youth groups have been assigned roles; to serve as the “first eye” of the Regional Security Council as the region races to restore its lost forest cover and vegetation.

The Savannah region is the largest region in Ghana with a landmass of 35,862 km2 (13,846 sq mi). It’s home to Ghana’s largest forest reserve. Its vegetation consists predominantly of grassland, especially savanna with clusters of drought-resistant trees such as baobabs or acacia.

Over 540,000 tons of rosewood – the equivalent of 23,500 twenty-foot containers or approximately six million trees – have been illegally harvested in Ghana and exported to China since 2012, according to BAN-BOOZLED, a report recently published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

The newly created region has been the target for loggers of rosewood and other commercial tree species in the five regions of the north. It’s against this that the regional security council chaired by the Regional Minister Saeed Muhazu Jibril has fallen on youth groups to halt the menace.

“We have diversified the whole security mechanism, our youth leaders have organised the youth wings in the districts to intercept vehicles that attempt to transport logs because the Police cannot be everywhere,” Mr Jibril revealed.

Members of the community watchdog groups against logging however are facing logistics challenges. But that might soon belong to the past following a commitment by the Lands and Natural Minister Lawyer A. Jinapor during an extraordinary meeting with members of REGSEC on 9th October in Damongo during his two-day working tour to the region.

“The youth will be given money because they use their own motorbikes and fuel to do this operation. The sector Minister has directed us to submit a budget to facilitate this intervention,” Mr Jibril told ZAMI Reports.

He commended members of REGSEC for being resolute in the fight against deforestation.

“The Savannah region is the place where we had the most prevalence of rosewood activities and charcoal burning but I can report that REGSEC has collaborated with the traditional council to deal with these matters and I think that is highly commendable.”

The region is also home to illegal mining mostly perpetuated by mercenaries from neighbouring countries whose activities endanger the White and Black Volta rivers and streams in the forest reserves. Mr Jinapor disclosed that the government has committed to procuring speed boats and vehicles to aid in patrols on and around the basins.

“Let’s have a proactive approach in dealing with these matters,” said.

www.zamireports.com| Damongo.

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