Concrete actions, not flowery speeches, preserve environment

 This year’s World Environ­ment Day was commemo­rated yesterday.

Established by the United Nations in 1972 and celebrated annually on June 5, the day re­minds the world of the collective responsibility to protect and sustain planet Earth.

Even though it has become a global platform for raising aware­ness and prompting action on pressing environmental issues, ev­ery year a certain area is adopted as the focus for the celebration and this becomes the theme.

Thus, this year’s theme is ‘Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience’ with the slo­gan, “Our Land, Our future”, and Ghana having its theme as ‘Land Restoration, Desertification and Drought Resilience: Journey to a Greener Future’ but maintaining the slogan.

Usually, speeches delivered on the occasion are centred on the theme and have the motive of urging practices to protect the planet for greener, safer and better future for all.

With this in view, we expect speeches, particularly those coming from the political estab­lishment, to highlight actions taken by the government to show commitment to preserving the environment, including the im­peratives for the public to follow and sanctions for non-compli­ance.

Environmental issues in the country are countless and include indiscriminate dumping of re­fuse, building on waterways, lack of spatial planning, galamsey and other heinous practices that de­grade the land and destroy water bodies, and how to tackle these problems.

Therefore, on this occasion we want to hear speeches highlight­ing actions and the way forward in those areas.

To some of us, the slogan for this year’s edition of World En­vironment Day, “Our Land, Our Future”, is apt because nothing exists or is done on planet Earth without the support of land.

The problem is that land in Ghana today is being misman­aged and duty bearers appear handicapped to address the situation, but we cannot have the land to sustain the future of this country if nothing urgent and suitable is done.

In the face of the environ­mental challenges, public officials must be clear and concrete about what they tell the public not only on World Environment Day but also any other opportune occasion.

It is not enough to ask Ghana­ians to prioritise environmental preservation.

How do they do it and what are the plans to ensure they do it?

The quote “Let us unite in our efforts to safeguard the environ­ment and leave behind a legacy of environmental stewardship for generations to come” sounds sweet in the ears but which ef­forts are being spoken about?

It is not enough to hear that the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Inno­vation (MESTI) emphasises the critical need for collective action to protect the earth for future generations through efforts, including restoring degraded landscapes, combating desertifi­cation, and building resilience to drought.

The public want to see these things done or being done.

For instance, they want to see the government adopt policies that can help farmers embrace eco-friendly farming practices.

This will prevent the enor­mous use of chemical pesticides and fertilisers that damage the soil, water, air, and the climate, thereby ensuring sustainability of the environment on the part of the farmers.

There is the need for public officials to give account of their stewardship to that public and every occasion must be an oppor­tune time to do so, rather than giving flowery speeches.

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