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General News of Saturday, 23 May 2020

Source: GNA

International Biodiversity Day: Ghanaians urged to be serious about conserving nature

Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng

Ghana today joins the global community to mark this year’s International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) with a call on citizens to re-examine their relationship with nature and its services and conserve them for their wellbeing and sustenance.

A statement signed by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, to commemorate the Day, said biological diversity constituted the building pillars for a nation’s development and civilization.

Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life found in one area. They comprise the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms such as bacteria that make up the natural world.

Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life.

Biodiversity supports everything in nature that mankind needs to survive: food, clean water, medicine, and shelter.

May 22 has been designated by the United Nations, to annually, increase awareness on the importance of biological diversity and enhance man’s appreciation and dependence on nature and its resources.

The theme for the celebration this year is thus: “Our Solutions are in Nature”.

The statement said the theme for the celebration, therefore, was appropriate, and urged the public to preserve biological resources, such as wetlands, water bodies, forests, coastal areas and national parks because they possessed the solutions to the myriad environmental, social and economic challenges.

The onset of the global pandemic COVID-19, it said, emphasised the importance of the environment and biodiversity, especially the potency of plants and herbs.

“Let us, therefore, re-examine our behaviours and actions towards our natural resources and come to the realisation that technological advancements without the corresponding respect to preserve, protect and promote biodiversity, cannot address our survival needs comprehensively,” it said.

In many developing countries, it said, close to 80 per cent of the people living in rural areas relied on plant-based medicines for basic health care and treatment.

It is also estimated that about three billion people across the world obtain about 20 per cent of their protein needs from fish sources; while plants provide not less than 80 per cent of the human diet.

Unfortunately, the statement said, 25 per cent of all animals and plant species around the world were threatened with extinction.

“The increase in natural disasters, such as floods, desertification, landslides, earthquakes and siltation were clear examples of the breakdown in man’s appreciation of biodiversity,” it noted.

The statement, therefore, condemned poor farming methods and techniques leading to deforestation and soil erosion; bush fires, uncontrolled hunting and fishing activities, illegal logging and mining, unplanned urban infrastructure development and the exploitation of wild species, saying they had led to the rapid depletion of Ghana’s biological resources.

It said the Government was finalising a National Biodiversity Policy, which would provide guidance to ensure the conservation and sustainable utilisation of biodiversity as a national heritage to benefit the present and generations to come.

It cautioned the public that negative actions towards nature, would be detrimental to human existence.