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La students learn about wetlands

La students learn about wetlands

Students of La Wireless Cluster of Schools observed World Wetlands Day, by participating in a learning programme organised by Eco-Conscious Citizens at Asanteson Gardens, in La, north Accra.

World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2nd February to mark the day in 1971 when the Convention on Wetlands, also known as the Ramsar Convention. was adopted in Ramsar, Iran.

Through a video made by Eco-Conscious Citizens’ project coordinator Kwaku and the organisation’s director Nii Maama Akita, the students aged between 13 and 17 years old, learnt that “a wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded or saturated by water, either permanently or seasonally.”

Furthermore, “wetlands are considered valuable because they clean the water, recharge water supplies, reduce flood risks, and provide fish and wildlife habitat. In addition, wetlands provide recreational opportunities, aesthetic benefits, sites for research and education, and commercial fishery benefits.”

The students heard about how the Kpeshie lagoon and the mangrove in nearby Tse Addo have been adversely affected by buildings on the buffer zone and on the wetlands. In addition, the cutting down of mangrove plants, dumping of waste, including plastics, has led to the lagoon being unable to sustain its once well-liked and abundant fishes, especially did3i or tilapia.

They were dismayed to find out that part of the mangrove has been filled and structures built thereon and on the buffer zone.

They decided to be active citizens and write to the MCE Hon. Solomon Kote-Nikoi, the Member of Parliament for La Dadekotopon (LaDMA) Hon. Naa Odoley Sowah, the Regional Minister Hon. Henry Quartey and the Minister for Local Government, Hon Dan Botwe and ask them to protect the Kpeshie mangrove and ensure that it is restored for this generation and generations to come.

The illegal human activities in the area are incongruent to this year’s theme, which is ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’. Indeed, the young people noted how the increased encroachment of Kpeshie wetlands had a negative impact which includes potential flooding of their homes.

Eco-Conscious Citizens founder Awula Serwah commended the young people for heeding the President’s call to be active citizens and taking their civic responsibilities seriously.

She added that it is a real shame that LaDMA has not put the environment high on the agenda and is not actively protecting the mangrove in Tse Addo. Had it not been for the intervention of 44 CSOs, including Eco-Conscious Citizens, it would have changed the use of the mangrove from Mangrove to Mixed Use to facilitate the construction of buildings.

In 2021, despite the intervention of Eco-Conscious Citizens, trees planted on Earth Day, 22nd April, in the orchard known as Jerusalem Garden at La Cluster of Schools by the former second Lady Mrs Matilda Amissah Arthur, Ms Esther Cobbah of Ghana Garden and Flower Movement, the Israeli Ambassador H.E. Mrs Shani Cooper-Zubida, Rev. Nii Ayitey Okine, then head of Department of Parks, and Ghana Education Service School Improvement and Support Supervisor Millicent Adokpa, were removed and replaced with an astro turf sports ground!

This is what Rev. Okine had to say at the garden’s opening: “Rather than destroying our natural world, we need to apply nature-focused solutions to our greatest challenges and create more robust resilience to systemic shocks in the future.

Interventions such as the restoration of forests, wet and peatlands in Ghana would help regulate water supply and protect communities from floods and landslides.”

We call on LaDMA not to betray the trust of the people and to remove the astro turf at La Wireless Cluster of Schools, and restore it to a green space, protect the environment ,including wetlands for this generation and generations to come.

Ghana faces a growing trend of environmental vandals filling and building on wetlands. This illegal activity contributes to some of the serious flooding we’ve been witnessing in recent years.

Wetlands in Ghana include:

1. Kpeshie Lagoon at Tse Addo, the Sakumono Ramsar site, Songor Lagoon, Densu Delta Ramsar Site all in the Greater Accra Region.

2. Muni-Pomadze Lagoon in the Central Region

3. Keta Lagoon in the Volta Region

4 Owabi Wildlife Sanctuary Ramsar Site in the Ashanti Region.

Awula Serwah
Eco-Conscious Citizens founder

La students learn about wetlands

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