The Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission, Mr Bernard Asamoah-Boateng, has disclosed that the Commission is committed to restoring and protecting wetlands across the country. He said, the livelihood of many people depends on wetlands and it would be dire should the country look on for its wetlands to be destroyed by some individual developers and encroachers. The restoration of wetlands, he noted, is to offer the critical services they provide to the environment, as well as to continue to support many livelihoods. As part of the restoration process, the Executive Director explained that the Wildlife Division would continue to partner with traditional authorities, local district assemblies, and the Ghana Education Service, adding that, their roles are important at the local level for the protection of wetlands. He said the Wildlife Division has also embarked on the planting of mangroves on wetlands for protection. Mr Asamoah-Boateng made the remarks when the Wildlife Division marked this year’s World Wetland Day at the Densu Delta Ramsar site in Accra on Thursday, February 2, 2023. February 2nd each year is celebrated as World Wetland Day to raise global awareness about the vital role of wetlands in the sustenance of our ecosystem and support for livelihood. The day also marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar. This year’s celebration was on the theme: “It's time for wetland restoration and according to Mr Asamoah-Boateng, the theme was in line with the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. He disclosed that, Ghana has lost about 30-40 per cent of its natural wetland ecosystem since the 1970s. According to him, there is an urgent need to embark on “Wetlands play a critical role and they are part of development,” he noted, adding “It is time that we restore our wetlands if we can perpetuate our existence on this earth.” He expressed the concern that currently, urbanisation and its negative consequences were taking a toll on Ghana’s wetlands.
Staff of Ghana Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission
“Encroachment, pollution from point and diverse sources, excessive and illegal resource exploitation and inadequate implementation of management measures by all stakeholders have led to the loss of most critical and sensitive wetlands ecosystems,” Mr Asamoah-Boateng noted, were contributing to the fast depletion of the country’s wetlands. For him, the livelihood of women who depend on the wetlands resources “is also gradually being threatened.” He said “We have reached an inflection point where we need to rethink how humans impact the environment,”, calling on all Ghanaians to contribute to the protection and restoration of wetlands in order for the country not to suffer any environmental challenges in the near future, particularly in the areas where wetlands are located. He said wetlands played a critical role in the development of the country and the notion that building concrete is about development is false, adding that, wetlands are also part of development. “Everyone is complaining about climate change but it is partly because we have mortgaged our wetlands and we prefer structural development to wetlands and if we do that the consequences are there for all to see”, he added. He also commended the PAMBROS salt industry for their support in the protection of the Densu Delta Ramsar site by supporting to plant mangroves in the area.