Wetlands have many environmental purposes which include water purification, flood control, wildlife nurseries, nutrient providers and carbon sinks among others.
But, according to the Programmes Manager for A ROCHA Ghana, Mr. Prosper Antwi, negative attitude of some members of the public is posing a threat towards the sustainability of wetlands in Ghana.
Speaking on the topic “Attitudinal and Behavioural Setbacks Towards the Sustainability of Wetlands in Ghana” at the maiden Wetlands Sustainability Conference in Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana, he highlighted some key factors that are posing the threats to include the perception that wetlands are “wastelands” and therefore must be used for infrastructural development.
“Water diversion is also a factor as people are creating channels through dams, dykes, and canals to divert water from wetland areas, all forms of pollution are also a contributing factor, as well as the increasing use of land for agriculture purpose”, he said.
He stated that, the destruction can however be reversed through a collective responsibility ranging from government to individuals.
“Some of the ways to reverse the trend include the situation where policymakers are required to effectively implement policies regarding wetlands conservation, harmonizing institutions to implement the policies and also integrating the wetlands issues into the national land-use planning, restoration of degraded wetlands, education and developing financing sources for wetlands conservation”, he advised.
Delivering the keynote address, Mr. Joseph Tsagli, from the Environmental Protection Agency highlighted on the theme of the conference “Wetlands and Water-Inseparable Vitals of Life”.
He said “Wetlands are very important to mankind and that is the more reason why its management should be of the most concern to humanity. The interactions among the components of wetlands, thus, the soil, water, nutrients as well as plants and animals allow the wetlands to perform certain ecological and natural functions and also generate products that are of socioeconomic importance. Wetlands help in the prevention of floods and erosion; maintenance of the water table purifies water and also helps in micro-climate stabilization among others.”
Dr. Ishmael Yaw Dadson from the Department of Geography Education at the University of Education, Winneba who spoke on the topic; “Addressing conservational approaches to Wetlands Sustainability in the Context of the Ghanaian Society” revealed that unsustainable fishing, farming and grazing, indiscriminate waste disposal, bush burning, problems with ownership, regulation, and water diversion are also major sustainability challenges to Wetlands in Ghana.
He said, there is therefore the need for an urgent action and urged all stakeholders to join forces towards the sustainability of Wetlands in Ghana.
About the Ghana Wetlands Sustainability Conference
The Ghana Wetlands Sustainability Conference’ is a youth-focused engagement on wetlands geared towards promoting student participation in the Ramsar Convention and SDG 15. The program is one of four main agenda encapsulated in the ‘Wetlands for Future Generation Campaign Project’ which is initiated to annually commemorate World Wetlands Day in Ghana, beginning from the year 2021. Outstandingly, the program is a campus engagement that seeks to create mass awareness on the sustainable use of wetland among students, with a strong emphasis on individual(s) roles to wetlands sustainability.
The event therefore mobilized environmental-related stakeholders and student associations to educate and sensitize them on how they can contribute to wetlands conservation and restoration of Ramsar sites in Ghana. The conference also provided the platform for presenting scholarly research papers, reports, and innovations on wetland s in the country.
The sustainability conference which is the maiden edition was hosted at the University of Education, Winneba by the Department of Geography Education at the Central Campus Conference Hall.Partners who joined forces with Youth Legacy Ghana, the organizers of the event includes; Department of Geography Education-UEW; A ROCHA Ghana, Environmental Protection Agency Ghana, Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission Ghana and Geography Students Association-UEW.