It took Lands Commission about one month to inform Eco-Citizens GH that it could not furnish it with a list of areas designated as parks and gardens in Accra. Eco-Citizens were asked to direct the query to Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), formerly known as Town and Country Planning. Interestingly, the contact details on LUSPA’s website don’t work. The letter has therefore been hand delivered.
It is worrying that the relevant authorities cannot answer a simple query that should be in the public domain. This lack of transparency is part of the reason why lands designated as parks, gardens and greenery have been built on over the years.
In the early 1960s, visionary President Kwame Nkrumah set up the Parks and Gardens Ministry under cabinet minister EN Ocansey. Unfortunately, the Ministry has been downgraded to a Department, and is currently under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. Over the years portions of Parks and Gardens lands have been appropriated and built on. This culminated in environmental vandalism early this year and the felling of over 140 trees without permission from the Environmental Protection Agency. Building materials were placed on a portion of Parks and Gardens land in readiness for a concrete development.
Eco-Citizens GH has been informed that the land along Rangoon Avenue, between Kumoji hospital and Flair catering, which belonged to Parks and Gardens is being cleared for development. Apparently the land was sold over a decade ago for the development of a park and playground. Ghanaians should ensure that the land is used for the purpose for which is was acquired, a park and playground, and not apartments or offices.
Let’s remember that trees and greenery are vital to our well-being. We cannot stand idly by whilst our air quality is being compromised by the indiscriminate felling of trees and transformation of Accra into a concrete jungle. The Good Book tells us that the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. We have a responsibility to take care of our environment. God in His wisdom did not place us in a concrete jungle
The online Parks and Gardens petition (http://bit.ly/GhanaParksPetition) to the President has been supported by a cross-section of people from various backgrounds in Ghana and beyond, and will be submitted shortly.
Eco-Citizens GH Co-ordinator