Eighteen Community Environmental Management Committee (CEMC) members have out-doored bushfire protection and management strategic plan to deal with serious and recurring environmental degradation in northern region.
Under the Ghana Environmental Management Programme (GEMP) funded by Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) with support from the government of Ghana, IBIS among other organizations, the proposed plan is help fight the menace of bushfire.
The strategic plan was born after a two-day training workshop organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the development of community bushfire protection and management plans for CEMCs from eighteen communities in nine districts of the region.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Enquirer after the workshop, the Northern Regional Director of EPA Mr. Abu Iddrisu explained that northern region which covers one third of the landmass of Ghana, with twenty administrative districts was prone to desertification, land degradation, bushfire, poor sanitation, deforestation, and water pollution among other things which pose serious threat to food security and livelihood.
According to the Director, as part of efforts by his organization to deal the menace of bushfire formed community environmental management committees across the region, established ten (10) seedling nurseries, 31 school environmental clubs, and formed partnership with the ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA)and Ghana Fire Service (GNF).
He said that EPA also strengthened its relationship with some selected Non for Profit Making (NGOs) working in the area of food security, agriculture, environment and mining to develop livelihood enhancement activities to help communities cop with climate change resilience.
Mr. Iddrisu indicated that half of the landmass of the region shows signs of desertification and would need critical and coordinated efforts by all stakeholders to reverse the looming desertification in the region.
“in the wake of climate change and increased in environmental related diseases, floods and natural disasters there was the need to involve communities to help tackle environmental related problems to reduce its negative impact on livelihoods, food security and economy”, he said.
For a long term now communities have always been relegated and never involved in activities directly affecting their livelihoods and that is why the formation Community Environmental Management Committees is unique.
A member of the Northern Regional Environmental Management Committee Mr. Alhassan Amadu who lauded EPA for involving community members and helping to draw up bushfire strategic plan saying the plan when utilized would help reduce incidence of bushfire identified as one of the major causes of land degradation.
He appealed to the government to ensure strict application of environmental laws and deal with persons or group of persons who breach these laws irrespective of their position.