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Indiscriminate burning: UW Minister calls for behavioral change

Upper West Regional minister, Alhaji Sulemana Alhassan has expressed worry over the indiscriminate burning in the region. 

The practice, he noted has led to many preventable bushfires which have become very common in the region, especially during the dry season.

Alhaji Sulemana made the statement in a speech read on his behalf by the District Chief Executive for Daffiama-Bussie-Issa, Nadi Imoro Sanda.

The programme which was organized by the Department of Environment and Resource Studies of the University for Development Studies in Wa brought together various agencies and key stakeholders in the Upper West region working on the field of environment to deliver messages on how to protect the environment.

Alhaji Sulemana stated that the ecology of the Savannah zone is very fragile and therefore any destruction of the environment could adversely affect the area.

He noted that bushfires expose lands to erosion, reduce soil fertility and destroy the habitat of some animals.

He said the climate condition of the area is also affected, resulting in erratic rainfall pattern, windy conditions and very dusty atmosphere.

Apart from Goziiri and some other few communities in the northern district which has an unblemished record of burning over the last 30 years, the rest of the 10 districts in the region have poor records when it comes to bush burning.

The indiscriminate burning in the region for some people has now become ritual which is making it difficult for them to stop it.

Alhaji Sulemana noted that most of the bushfires are human related and therefore preventable. 

‘‘Unattended fires created by the activities of hunters, cattle herdsmen, charcoal producers and famers are mostly to blame for the bushfires. We cannot as a people continue to burn the small vegetative cover we have,’’ he added.

He called for a re-orientation of the people especially the youth to educate them on the negative effects of bushfires.

He also called on the people to change their attitude and discard the notion that bushfires are ritual or cultural related.

He commended the Nandom Naa, Naa Dr. Charles Pobe Puoree Chiiri VII for the fight against bush burning and urged other communities in the region to follow their example.

Acting principal of the Wa campus of the university for development studies, Dr. Sylvester Galaa called on agencies that are working on environment related programmes on anti-bushfires to review their strategies to bring on board more innovative ways of educating the public on the menace of bushfire.

Dr. Gala called for effective collaboration and partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency, Forestry Commission, District Assemblies and Chiefs in order to fight the bushfire menace. 

Over hundred students from second cycle and tertiary institutions took part in the marathon that was held as part of the programme.

Final year student of the Wa campus of the UDS, Bodi Julius Nyerere won the marathon.