President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed grave concerns about the exploitation of Ghana’s natural resources with little regard for future generations.
He said although citizens have the right to “exploit” resources to their benefit, this should be done without endangering them.
Delivering his speech at the nation’s 60th independence anniversary at the Black Star Square Monday, the President said the country is losing its natural resources to destructive activities of some citizens.
“The dense forests, that were home to varied trees, plants and fauna, have largely disappeared,” he lamented.
“Our rivers and lakes are disappearing, and those that still exist are all polluted,” he added.
Experts have said Ghana might import water from neighboring countries by 2020, a situation that is blamed on destructive human activities. The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years.
Although the Region has faced a long period of drought, residents believe galamsey activities are to blame for the development. It is a view supported by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ghana Water Company (GWC).
Intervention by past governments to protect the depleting resources of the country have not yielded the right results.
Unhappy with the potential danger that lies ahead, President Akufo-Addo has called on Ghanaians to individually take responsibility for the protection of the “varied trees, plants and fauna.”
“It bears repeating that we do not own the land, but hold it in trust for generations yet unborn. We have a right to exploit the bounties of the earth and extract the minerals and even redirect the path of the rivers, but we do not have the right to denude the land of the plants and fauna nor poison the rivers and lakes,” he said.
The President said the best homage the citizens could pay to the nation’s founders would be to safeguard the environment from destructive activities.
“Today, we import timber for our use, and the description of our land as a tropical forest no longer fits the reality,” he said, works to regenerate the lands and water bodies must start in earnest.