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Page added on June 14, 2012
Freetown, June 13 (SLENA: Sierra Leone on Monday 11th June joined the rest of the world to celebrate the tree planting day to raise awareness and consciousness about the essence of environmental protection and how to mitigate mankind’s mismanagement of it.
This year’s event, which attracted key stakeholders in the environmental related agencies, was organized by the Agriculture Ministry at Kossoh Town.
The day coincided with the commissioning of a water dam by Vice President Sam Sumana and is expected to serve 25,000 residents when completed. Construction of the dam would cost thirty thousand Pounds Sterling.
The Commissioning of the dam came as a great relief to the people of Kossoh Town who have been experiencing water shortage in recent years.
In his keynote address to mark the tree planting, the vice president referred to the practical aspect of trees as a simple way to establish forests to protect the environment and improve on the water supply system which the city of Freetown and its environs continue to suffer from.
He revealed last year’s celebrations hosted at Moku Hills where they sensitized the people as partners to assist in the protection of catchment areas for water supply to the Guma Dam.
The Vice President told his audience that tree planting and reforestation however require some sound policies and laws to guide forest management practices.
He said the government under President Koroma was very much aware of such requirements, which is why it has put in place through the Agenda for Change mechanism for environmental laws for sustainable developments.
He opined that available records show that about 60% of the virgin forest cover has been wantonly depleted due to constant loggings, burning, shifting cultivation, mining and the uncontrolled urban expansion in recent times.
In spite of these activities, the Vice President noted that the forests still continue to play an important role in providing timber for construction and furniture requirements and called on all to make it obligatory to manage the nation’s natural resources for sustainable development.
He noted that the Peninsular Forest continues to be grossly affected by human activities especially illegal erection of dwelling houses on the hill sides beyond the demarcated zones where no such developments should be undertaken and expressed government’s determination to halt the illegal prtactice.
The Lands Minister and its allied agencies, he revealed, will be empowered and capacitated for positive action against defaulters.
He told the Kossoh Town inhabitants that this year’s tree planting exercise was just the beginning of a project that will engage their community to plant over five thousand trees to serve as demarcation pillars in critical areas along the boundaries of the catchment areas along the Peninsular Forest reserve.
The Vice President called on the people therefore to closely monitor the planted trees and accept complete ownership of the project to support government’s stride in Environmental Protection.
The E.U. Representative, Pierre Raymondet-Commoy also dilated on a number of projects they have undertaken among which was the Gola Forest, the Marine/Water sectors and enhancement of Environmental Protection related agencies including the Ministry of Forestry.
He referred to the event as a determination the part of the government to continue partnership for sustainable development.
The German-born WAPFOR Project Director spoke of their contributions so far and admonished the ministry to put in place mechanisms to halt the mining of sand which he noted will destroy the beauty of the beaches along the Peninsular.
The addressed by the Agriculture Minister Dr. Sam Sesay climaxed that day’s event, dilating on this year’s theme “Forests/Trees and water as important elements for the survival of mankind”.
Lands Minister, Alieu Pat Sowe called on the people to desist from land grabbing as any citizen is entitled to it provided he or she follows the right channel.
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