One million trees on WED: Department of Parks & Gardens, the way to go!

World Environment Day666 File photo: World Environment Day (WED)

Tue, 1 Jun 2021 Source: Matilda Tettey

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated annually on the 5th of June, with over 143 countries participating. The day started in 1974 by the United Nations (UN) aimed to encourage the world’s awareness, of their actions and inactions on the environment to protect the environment.

On the day, awareness is created on emerging issues on the environment, pollution on marine activities, pollution caused by activities due to the overpopulation of humanity and global warming to sustainable consumption.

The environment plays a vital role in living healthy as humans and our existence on planet earth, there is a need for us as humans to protect our surrounding and the environment. The climate emergency has made it even clearer that we need to protect our environment.

This year’s celebration is themed; “Ecosystem Restoration” marking the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.

The Department of Parks and Gardens under the Ministry of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, this year, is joining the world to mark the Day with the planting of One Million Trees in a 2-year period across the country and will be launched at the Aburi Botanic Gardens.

The Department was established in 1961 by the enactment of the Local Government Act 54, First Schedule, Section 47, Part 2, Clause 72, which is an incorporating amendment Act made by Legislative Instrument 323 (R.P.299).

The above states that, a Department should be established “To provide for the establishment management, layout, planting, improvement, maintenance and regulation of parks, gardens and other places of public resort or recreation for the use of the public and to contribute to the cost of maintenance of parks, gardens and other places of public resort or recreation provided by any persons for the use of the public.

The Department, with horticultural professionals, believes in sustaining, preserving, and conserving the environment, thus, it intends to plant and nurture the one million trees over the next two years with partnering institutions and organisations.

The objective of the exercise is not only to create awareness on WED and to reset the relationship with nature but to shade the environment from direct sun rays and for the trees to serve as windbreaks during disasters.

Trees serve as water pollution prevention; storm water can be full of phosphorus pollutant and nitrogen. They stop storm water flow into oceans and water to enter the earth and seep into the soil.

Planting of trees to some people is to beautify their gardens, serve as shade and sometimes calm their nerves from the stress of life, however, there are more benefits from trees than one might think, with exception of relaxation, trees also connect us with nature to have a calming effect.

Trees reduce climate change effect on the environment, it helps fight excess contribution of harmful carbon dioxide (C02) replacing it with the release of oxygen.

Scientifically, trees serve as purifiers due to their absorbent of polluted gases such as nitrogen oxides, ozone, ammonia, and sulfur dioxides. Trees also absorb odours filtering hard to be seen particles that get trapped in leaves.

Research has it that an acre of matured trees can provide oxygen for eighteen people in a year.

Trees give off oxygen needed by humans to breathe and reduce the quantum of storm water runoff, which reduces erosion and pollution in our waterways and reduce the effects of flooding. Most species of wildlife also depend on trees for their habitat.

Apart from trees being medicinal, they provide food, protection as well as homes for many birds and mammals.

UN Sustainable Development Goals through the promotion of a greener, cleaner, healthier, wealthier and beautiful Ghana.

The Department is calling on all private and public institutions, organisations, enthusiasts, environmentalists, stakeholders, and well-meaning Ghanaians to come on board to support and contribute to the realization of this worthy cause, because as the saying goes; “When the last tree dies, the last man dies”.

Columnist: Matilda Tettey