The Deputy Manager for Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) in Berekum in the Bono Region, Justice Bakumbir has been accused of destroying over 500 trees belonging to the Green Ghana Project using weedicides.

The revelation was made by the Sunyani District Manager of the Forestry Commission, Francis Brobbey, as part of his monitoring and follow-ups on the greening Ghana campaign at the Berekum Water Works.

According to him, more than 6000 trees were planted in the area only to realise that over 500 have been sprayed with weedicides for maize plantation.

The Government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, embarked on planting five million tree seedlings countrywide on June 11, as part of the Green Ghana Project, dubbed "Green Ghana: Let’s Go Planting Five Million Trees in One Day”.

The tree-planting programme was to spark the increase of forest cover and to help address the issue of climate change in the country.

At the Berekum Waters Works, the trees were specially planted to protect the river in the area which help supply drinking water to the residents of Berekum and its environs. The river is called ‘Asuo kora’. It is therefore surprising that, the deputy director of the GWCL would seek to destroy the trees for maize plantation.

The Sunyani District Manager of the Forestry Commission told journalists in an interview that, his outfit has formed Green Ghana monitoring team and it was through their surveillance work that they were able to detect the destruction at the Berekum water works.

“The Ghana water works at Berekum collected many of the tree seedlings during the Green Ghana day and that was where we even did the inaugural ceremony for the Bono Region and we ended up planting about six thousand trees of different species. What worries us however is a farmer turning about an acre of the land into maize farm after spraying the planted trees with weedicides”, he said.

He disclosed that, before planting the trees they advised against what could destroy the trees and they include spraying of weedicides and fire but was not adhered by the GWCL staff.

“These trees were planted with state funds and must be protected at all cost”, he advised.

Mr Brobbey revealed that, his outfit would at the appropriate time come out with the punishment for the GWCL Staff after consulting with the regional director of the Forestry Commission.

It wasn’t intentional

The Deputy GWCL Manager in Berekum, Justice Bakumbir confirmed destroying the trees by using weedicides. He however denied having knowledge about the planted trees in the area.

“I didn’t know they have planted any tree in this area so I contracted someone to clear the weeds for me to grow my maize by using weedicides, so it is not intentional that I will destroy the trees”

Mr Baakumbir has however assured to replace the trees, saying that, he has started planting the trees back and would make sure all that had been destroyed would be replaced.

It is a shame

Meanwhile, some residents of Berekum have described as shame the attitude of the GWCL deputy director. According to them, he cannot deny that, he has no knowledge about the existence of the trees in the area.

“During the Green Ghana Day, Berekum hosted the Bono Regional ceremony and the Omanhene of the town was there to grace the occasion, with the venue being the water works premises. It is therefore surprising that, the deputy director would now be denying having no idea about the existence of the trees”, Kofi Abednago, a resident of Berekum told ghenvironment.org.

He added that, pegs were used to support the planted trees and it is unusual for the deputy director to say that, he didn’t see anything on the land when he contracted a labourer to spray the trees.

He is therefore calling for stiffer punishment for Baakumbir.

Story By Odeneho Kwesi Appiah, Sunyani