Yoleg in Partnership with Department of Geography Education Observes World Wetlands Day

A Non-Governmental Organisation with the vision to spearhead development through research, Youth Legacy Ghana (Yoleg) in partnership with the Department of Geography Education under the Faculty of Social Sciences Education (FSSE), has organised Ghana Wetlands Sustainability Conference, 2021, to mark World Wetlands Day celebration.

The colloquium, which took place at the School of Creative Arts Conference Room, on Tuesday, 16th February, 2021, was held under the theme, “Wetlands and Water – Inseparable Vitals for Life”.

Addressing participants on the purpose of gathering, the Head, Department of Geography Education, Dr. Enoch Sam, stated that the conference was meant to educate the youth on wetlands sustainability. He called on all stakeholders to undertake the necessary actions towards the sustainability of wetlands in Ghana.

Head, Department of Geography Education, Dr. Enoch Sam making an appeal to stakeholders to take action in sustaining wetlands in Ghana

“In Ghana, freshwater is acquired mostly from Wetlands and Ramsar sites. The value of wetlands has not been harnessed leading to underutilisation of the vast resources they provide. Illegal mining is on the ascendency and destroying most rivers, thereby, devaluing and hampering the sustainable use of wetlands. It is, therefore, important that a multi-stakeholder action be developed to undertake stringent interventions to fight all human activities that negatively impede wetlands,” Dr. Sam said.

The Vice-Dean, FSSE, Dr. Ishmael Yaw Dadson, delivered the first presentation on the topic “Addressing Conservational Approaches to Wetlands Sustainability in the Context of the Ghanaian Society”. He indicated that in Ghana, 13 designated coastal Wetlands had been identified by save the seashore Birds projects as the abode for feeding, roosting and nesting sites for 1,000s of migratory and residential seashore birds, namely, Keta, Muni-Pomadze, Densu, Elmina, Saltpond, Sakumo, Songhor, Kole and Essiama but five were designated by Ramsar site.

Vice-Dean, FSSE, Dr. Ishmael Yaw Dadson

He urged Ghanaians to re-consider afforestation, reforestation and revegetation of native plants along streams. Additionally, the use of pesticide and fertilizers must be avoided or used sparingly, and bad practices such as overgrazing and pollution eschewed. He averred “Beware of emerging environmental problems that negatively affect wetlands”.

Acting Site Manager for the Muni Pomadze Ramsar site, Mrs. Vivian Aye-Addo also gave a presentation on the topic, “The status of the Muni-Pomadze Ramsar Site; Pitfalls and recommendations”. She noted that Muni-Pomadze being one of the coastal Ramsar sites in Ghana covers a total perimeter of 9,461.12 hectares; adding, it comprises of the Muni lagoon, seafront of the adjacent beach, the flood place, and it compasses the whole Winneba township that the water shared surroundings.

“Human pressures such as over-exploitation, drainage and conversion of wetlands, pollution and other conflicting land-use practices threaten many wetlands in Ghana including Muni-Pomadze. Communities that depend on water for their livelihood can no more depend on such sources due to water pollution,” she pointed out.

Mrs. Vivian Aye-Addo during her presentation

Mrs. Vivian Aye-Addo appealed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Water Resources to act to curtail such threats.

Speaking on the topic ’Attitudinal Setbacks Towards the Conservation of Wetlands in Ghana, Programme Manager at Arocha Ghana, Mr. Prosper Kwame Antwi Baffo Boasiako, educated participants on the benefits of wetlands, and the role an individual has to play as a citizen.

Programme Manager,  Arocha Ghana, Mr. Prosper Kwame Antwi Baffo Boasiako

He urged attendees to consider and protect the environment in taking everyday decisions like building, farming,  choosing refuse damp sites  and organise wetlands work or clean-up.

“Develop financing sources for wetlands conservation, and restore wetlands that have been degraded. If we will be able to succeed as a nation it depends on you and me, we’ve all got roles and specific responsibilities for which when we carry through, definitely we will be able to succeed. If it comes to wetland management or conservation of wetland in terms of attitude, it is not only about one person but everybody,” he said.