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Regional News of Thursday, 19 June 2003

Source: gna

Upper East observes World Desertification Day

The National Celebration of World Desertification and Drought Day was on Tuesday held at Sandema in the Builsa District in Upper East, with a call on Ghanaians to protect the country's water bodies.

The global theme for the celebration was: "Water Resource Management", while the National theme was: "Protect Your Water Basins - Time to Act."

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Mahami Salifu, called for prudent water management practices and suggested the construction of water harvesting systems as a means of managing and mitigating drought and desertification.

He said in spite of efforts made through legislations to prevent pollution of water bodies, it was common to see waste discharged into the country's water bodies.

" It calls for individual and collective discipline and consciousness to arrest the wanton destruction of the natural support of our very future existence."

Mr Salifu gave the assurance that the sector Ministry would continue to pursue sustained environmental practices through extensive education of the populace, awareness creation and sensitisation on sound environmental practices for the citizenry.

He called for action to mitigate the threat of desertification and drought. "Government believes that the time to act is now. If we continue to downplay matters of the environment we would be putting our own future in danger," the Minister said.

The Builsa District Chief Executive (DCE), Reverend James Agalic, said the pace at which the desert was affecting the country through the Upper East Region was serious.

The Paramount Chief of the Builsa Traditional Area, Naab Ayieta Azantilow, warned that henceforth he would not endorse building permits in his capacity as the paramount chief if estate developers failed to indicate tree growing in their site plan.

He said tree growing was not new in the Builsa Traditional Area because he had personally taken part in growing trees in the area as a young man.

''In those days trees did not only serve as windbreaks but also protected the people from slave raiders during the slave trade'', he said.

Some institutions were awarded prizes for their contribution in keeping the environment clean and actively participating in re-forestation programmes. They received farm implements such as cutlasses and watering cans.

The Sandem-Naab was also honoured for his initiative in forestation.

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