As Ghana observes Green Ghana Day, a recent study conducted by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) has unveiled concerning statistics regarding the country's environment and natural resources.
The report highlights that approximately 35% of Ghana's land is at immediate risk of desertification, necessitating urgent action to combat this growing crisis.
Ghana's environment has long been a vital aspect of its socioeconomic development, providing natural resources, sustenance, and employment opportunities. However, the mismanagement of these resources has led to detrimental consequences that undermine the country's social and economic progress.
Using the Environmental Systems Framework, the ISSER report sheds light on the continuous degradation of various environmental elements, including the atmosphere, freshwater, biodiversity, and land, between 2016 and 2022.
These findings underscore the urgent need for comprehensive policies and regulations to address the escalating environmental challenges in Ghana.
One alarming trend highlighted in the report is the increasing temperatures experienced in the country over the years, with 2020 recording the highest rise, closely followed by 2016.
Ghana's greenhouse gas emissions have also seen a significant increase, reaching 58.56 MtCO2e in 2019, representing a 16% surge compared to baseline levels in 2016.
The issue of freshwater pollution has worsened in recent years, primarily due to illegal small-scale mining, known as “galamsey.” This activity has resulted in severe contamination of water bodies, posing a significant threat to aquatic ecosystems and human health.
The report further emphasizes the critical state of Ghana's wildlife, with several species, including the blue whale, common chimpanzee, Egyptian vulture, African grey parrot, and Baker's wood mouse, classified as endangered.
This alarming trend underscores the urgent need for concrete efforts to protect Ghana's unique biodiversity.
To address these environmental challenges, ISSER recommends a series of strategic measures and actions.
These include expediting the implementation of Ghana's long-term National Development Plan (2018-2057), empowering environmental sustainability enforcement bodies and institutions, promoting climate-smart agricultural practices, accelerating the implementation of the community mining module, and increasing public awareness about the importance of environmental resilience.
In anticipation of Green Ghana Day, ISSER also emphasizes the need for meticulous monitoring of tree growth under the ‘Green Ghana Agenda.' It is crucial for the government to accurately track progress to ensure the success of this initiative and effectively combat deforestation.