Author: GAYO

Green Africa Youth Organization, seeks to start an action plan on the environmental status of Ghana. We hope to do this through mass education and support from all concerned citizens.

World Wetlands Day 2017

“Happy World Wetlands Day to everyone who works to protect global wetlands” – From Our Founder, Joshua Amponsem.

Wetlands are the link between land and water, and are some of the most productive ecosystems in the world. Some common names for different types of wetlands are swamp, marsh and bog. To be called a wetland, an area must be filled or soaked with water at least part of the year.

As wetlands are continuously threatened by human activities, this is a day to spread awareness on the importance of wetlands and call on more people to join hands in protecting wetlands.

In Ghana, we are loosing our wetlands (especially, Mangrove wetlands) at an alarming rate despite the many projects carried out by conservation groups. During 2015 World Environmental Day, I coordinated the Ghana Youth Climate Coalition to join a tree planting exercise at the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar site in Winneba – which is globally  known for wetland Turtle conservation. It was sad to see plastics all around a ramsar site which accommodates over 13o species of organisms. In other places across the country, mangroves at some wetlands are being harvested for fish smoking. Interaction with fishmongers reveals that smoking fish with the mangrove gives the fish a better taste. This act has led to the loss of mangrove vegetation in the Central Region, and parts of the Volta Region.

plastic-waste-at-the-banks-of-the-muni-lagoon-ramsar-site

At the Kakum estuary in Cape Coast, which is surround by a mangrove wetland, it is heartbreaking to witness the frequency and speed at which people are encroaching the wetlands. People are erecting buildings so close to the wetlands and some sitting right on the wetlands. This has contributed to a chronic flooding events within some parts of the Cape Coast metropolis. The Kakum estuary alone contains over eighteen species belonging to 18 genera and 12 families of marine, brackish water and freshwater fishes. If the wetland surrounding the estuary is threatened so is the estuary. Additionally, as a very sensitive ecosystem, it is disturbing to find people practicing open defecation and throwing refuse (mainly plastics) in an around the wetland.

Why protect Wetlands?

  •  Wetlands function like a sponge, soaking up water that comes in with the tides, or from periodically flooding rivers. In fact, they control floods much more effectively and efficiently than any flood wall.
  • Wetlands are Carbon Sink. Because the soils found in wetlands can store carbon for hundreds of years, they play an important role in fighting climate change.
  • Aids in Sea Level Rise Mitigation. As global warming increases and sea levels rise, wetlands are the first barrier to protecting people living closer the sea and within flood zone area.
  • Recreation and Tourism. Spanning from bird watching, biking, hiking, and kayaking, wetlands provide people with many ways to enjoy nature. In Ghana, we receive migratory birds at our estuaries and wetlands – this is something the Ghana Tourism Authority needs to look at.
  • Wildlife Nursery. Because of its unique location between water and land, salt and freshwater, wetlands shelter a wide range of vulnerable species while serving as a breeding site for many organisms. Without wetlands, a huge number of songbirds, waterfowl, shellfish, and other mammals just wouldn’t exist.
  • Fertile Farm Land. The staple diet of half the world’s population is rice, which grows in wetlands in many parts of the world.

There are many more benefits of wetland that cannot be mentioned. The frequent flood events in most coastal cities in Ghana can be attributed to destruction of wetlands. As we celebrate Wetlands today, I call on all global citizens to advocate for the protection of wetlands.

ANGOLA: ILLIGAL WILDLIFE TRADE HIGHER THAN ARMS SMUGGLING

United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP) and Interpol has revealed through a report on Environmental Crime that inability to prevent and halt wildlife/environmental crime will make it impossible to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

During this year’s World Environmental Day, all strength and vigor was headed towards Angola – Africa’s biggest ivory and bush meat market, as stated by a recent report by Karren Alan from Angola.

On such a world recognized day, with the slogan ‘Go Wild for Life’, world’s environmentalists and conservationist were all in to develop strategies to fight illegal wildlife trade in the World. With Angola as the leading illegal wildlife trade country in Africa, UNEP celebrated World Environmental Day in Angola.

In phase of such celebration, Angola’s is putting up efforts to end illegal bush meat and wildlife trade to show their commitment towards the global goals. In Angola, it is literally a war between poachers and conservationist. A report by UNEP, shows that 100,000 African elephants were killed (by poachers) between 2010 and 2012 – this also tells how crucial it is for environmental and conservation investors to consider Africa as a top place to develop eco-tourism and other related initiatives that will enhance the closure and end of the poaching revolution.

According to Karren Allan, a reporter from Luanda, a project termed ‘Okavango Wilderness Project’ and Angola’s National Geographical Society expeditionary team have been studying the illegal trade of wildlife. The Okavango Wilderness Project is already proposing a reserve of about 175,000 kilometer square – a monitored but yet protected/reserved field where wildlife will have a better habitat to live and grow without being threatened by poachers. More so, such developments is accompanied with high infrastructural and administrative costs. The project also stated that there are existing wild regions with lots of wildlife which can be protected before it gets very late.

The leader of the National Geographical Society had mentioned that fighting the illegal wildlife trade is ideally a cause of conservation and sustainability. Additionally, he revealed the cost of some bush meat in the country. According to him, a monkey costs 6 USD while it costs 60 USD to purchase a cut of snake.

In recent times, through support from international agencies and the Government of Angola, commenced an initiative to recruit soldiers and military personnel as wildlife guards in an effort to end the wildlife trade while promoting conservation. Culprits found trading/smuggling ivory are to face a 3 years jail sentence which has been backed by law, however, the initiative is not yielding its full potential – citizens says.

According some citizens and history, bush meat became a favorite during the times of war in Angola. People will resort in bushes and feed on bush meat; after the war, they see no reason to restrain from consuming bush meat. The concept of conservation is not well understood by citizens and the income generated from trading bush meat is so lucrative such that it wouldn’t be easy to just end the era. Per UN and Interpol report, illegal wildlife trade is cumulatively functioning on a larger industrial scale and is possibly dominating arms smuggling.

4th Environmental Sanitation Workshop.

SAMROSE COMPLEX ACADEMY was our next stop to educate the pupils on the importance of environmental sanitation as part of our environmental sanitation series to reduce the risk of flooding and sanitation related diseases.

As mentioned in all the previous reports, we highlighted on basic sanitation practices and things that our young generation can do to keep their environment clean. Daystar Babanao, project member, did an incredible job educating the children on environmental health and sanitation.

Daystar first explained the meaning of environment and sanitation to the pupils. She then went on to talk about the reason behind the workshop (ie, environmental sanitation), stating that unhygienic conditions cause diseases, diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, malaria and worm infections, which are mostly acquired by children. She explained further that these diseases can be prevented when our environment is kept clean.

Emmanuel Marfo also touched on littering, stating that littering causes gutters to be choked leading to floods, and that one should always dispose of waste properly. He also said that one should keep waste such as rubbers and plastics till one sees a waste bin and that littered environments destroy other organisms that are useful and important to us.

Daystar Babanao leading the education at SAMROSE COMPLEX.

ACCRA GREEN MARKET

GAYO to partner the event, Accra Green Market.

The Accra Green Market which will be organized at the Hub Accra -Opposite Ako Adjei Street, is a two day event which features a 2 hour forum on the 5th of September, 2014 and on the 6th of September, 2014 is the green fair where there are activities such as

Reusing T-Shirts for Bags, Eco-Friendly Activities, Urban Gardening ,Kids Centre ,Fresh Smoothies and Fruits Khebab, Bouncing Castle,

Selling Of Organic Vegetables And Fruits, Organic Honey, Fitness Centre, Makeup Centre, Live Band,

Locally Produced Foods in Ghana- Shea Butter Pomade, Lip Palm etc.

Present at the forum, include speakers like Daweed Jawara-Organic Farmer (Sunshine Farms), Kukua Baidoo- Recycling (Twelve Baskets), etc.

Organizations like the AgricPro, The Green Ghanaian, etc. Tickets is available for cool 10ghc.

To support, partner or enquire about this green event, contact us.

Meet Up with Gwendolyn Wellman, LCA-GHANA

The Green Africa Youth Organization, meets with Dr. Gwendolyn Wellmann- a resource personnel from South Africa.

The meeting is scheduled at the Western Premier Hotel.

The meeting which is also tagged a Climate Change Symposium to help develop action schemes for Ghana to help mitigate and provide adaptation measures for conservationist and citizens of the environment.

Dr. Gwendolyn Wellmann, who is a sociologist and specializes in sustainable community development.

The Assistant Director, Mr. Desmond Alugnoa, will be the representative for this meeting scheduled Tuesday, August 19, 2014 FROM 1400 to 1700 GMT.

We hope that through discussion we can learn from her success and also discuss future collaboration with her and the organization Leadership for conservation in Africa in protecting Ghana’s natural resources.