The Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi, Yusif Sulemana, has called on government and other stakeholders like the District Assemblies to enforce the PNDCL 229 to prevent burning of bushes.
The MP in a statement read on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, January 26, submitted that “PNDCL 229 must be enforced fully and District Assemblies must be made to perform their duties as set out in the law. The punitive measures as captured in section 11 (i) and (ii) must be enforced to deter people from engaging in bush burning”.
The MP, who acknowledged the Ghana Meteorological Agency press statement issued on Tuesday, January 19, 2021, on the Harmattan Weather Alert, said the damaging effects of bushfires especially in the Savannah zone during dry seasons have been worsened by the effects of climate change.
“The Savannah Zone as we are all aware, Mr. Speaker, is characterised by large expanse of dry fields. Consequently, in the harmattan season, it is common to see unhindered winds traveling on average at 50km/h and in the process causing uncontrollable bushfires. The adverse impact of these fires on rural economies and folks cannot be overemphasized,” he added.
The Agency noted that from January 20, 2021, harmattan will intensify as dry and dusty continental winds from Chad will be entering Ghana. The statement cautions that the Northern half of our country is expected to be drier with an increased probability of fire outbreaks, for these reasons, Mr. Sulemana said it has therefore become extremely necessary for Parliament to take notice of this issue and to offer valuable insights to the citizenry.
According to him, a social survey conducted by Kusimi and Appati, 2012 showed that bushfires have impacted individuals and, in some cases, whole communities in the form of loss of lives and/or property.
“Their survey presented evidence of cases where part or whole communities are raised down and large tracts of fields of maize, rice, cassava, cashew, mango, etc. destroyed. On the household/community level, millions of Ghana Cedis in properties are estimated to be lost in the last decade due to major wildfires.
Aside the above, installations especially electrical poles are burnt and have to be replaced on a yearly basis.
The disruption of power supply resulting from these, over the years has negatively affected the socio-economic activities and livelihoods of citizens especially those engaged in the sale of food, cold store, and beverage/drinks business.”
He mentioned that it is high time leaders find solutions for this menace and he used the opportunity to suggest that they look at this on three levels: individual, community and national.
“On the individual level, Mr. Speaker, I recommend a coordinated educational program aimed at effecting attitudinal change and showing people the impact of their activities.”
“On the community level, the Ghana Fire Service must be encouraged to continue and improve its community fire committee program where committees of young men are formed in every community and trained to act as the first line of defense in case of a fire outbreak.”