Human activities, main cause of land degradation

The Upper East Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, Mr Asher Nkegbe, has observed that human activities accounted for the major causes of land degradation and desertification in the country.

Speaking to the GNA in Bolgatanga on Tuesday, he explained that even though natural factors could be cited for the causes of the phenomenon, human activities were the major cause of the problem.

Mr Nkegbe cited human factors including indiscriminate bush burning, cutting down of trees for charcoal burning, overgrazing, unsustainable cultivation practices, overgrazing, improper use of agro-chemicals, and mining among others as some of the human activities that lead to land degradation and desertification

The Regional Director indicated that among the ten regions of Ghana, the Upper East Region was most affected by land degradation and the threat of desertification.

He said it was based on that trend that the government with funding from the World Bank and Canadian Government through the EPA in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA), Water Resources Commission among others were implementing the Ghana Environmental Management Project (GEMP).

He stated that although there had been some significant improvement through the interventions, there was still the need for a concerted effort from all stakeholders to help tackle the menace and appealed to all Municipal and District Assemblies to enact bylaws to prevent farmers from cutting trees and burning the bush indiscriminately.

The Regional Director who blamed the problem of food security and climate change largely on human activities, appealed to district assemblies and traditional leaders to mobilise their communities to undertake activities aimed at reversing land degradation and desertification in their respective jurisdiction.

He said under the GEMP, majority of communities had been provided with alternative livelihoods such as soap making, shea butter, and a small loan scheme to help communities engage in profitable ventures so they would stop engaging in activities that bring about desertification.

Many communities, he indicated, had also been empowered and given the needed support to protect the buffer zones and mentioned some of the districts as, Bawku West, Builsa and West Mamprusi Districts.

He said through sensitization programmes and with the support of pumping machines farmers who used to farm along river banks were observing the 90meter buffer zone concept and conducting their activities far away from the rivers . GNA

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