A GNA News feature by A.B. Kafui Kanyi/Sumaiya Salifu Saeed
Ho, April 12, GNA - The description of Ho as the oxygen city of Ghana by Mr Nelson Akorli, Ho Municipal Chief Executive attracted loud applause at the launch of Volta Trade, Investment and Cultural Fair.
The applause signalled acceptance and willingness of the people to exploit their environmental awareness and attract investors to the valley city.
Fact is Ho’s unpolluted air is gradually positioning it as destination of choice for many with less noise pollution and fluid traffic.
The seeming conflict between sustainable growth and modern environmental thinking, where people perceive sustainable growth or development to be living in gated houses and driving expensive cars is less in the Volta Regional capital.
Houses might not be well planned, but built meaningfully with future generations in mind, with knowledge that everything is connected to the planet.
The announcement of the MCE that the Assembly was securing plots of land for industrial parks and gardens is very refreshing because gardens and green areas are noted to help muffle noise from vehicular traffic and other activities with plants acting as filters for air pollution.
It is also uplifting to note the revival of some streams, which could be used for recreation and help create an aesthetically appealing environment good for urban landscape and biodiversity.
Mountains surrounding the city make it easy for one to relate to nature with a lifestyle that brings together love of nature and environmental thinking.
Perhaps, what needed to be done is the planting of more trees, especially ornamental ones, as suggested by Professor Paul Buatsi, Founder and Managing Consultant of Omega Strategic Resources Limited-experts in investment facilitation and market entry.
Experts say the City of Ho stands to reap millions of dollars from the United Nations Green Climate Fund through the tree planting initiative.
The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a financial mechanism of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 194 governments at the end of 2011 to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries and help adapt vulnerable societies to the already-felt impacts of climate change.
Dr George Ortsin, National Coordinator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme, told the Ghana News Agency that communities around the mountains could benefit between 200 to 250 million dollars from planting trees.
He said the vast vegetation of the area has a carbon sink that will absorb lots of carbon in the atmosphere and emit the much-needed oxygen.
Dr Ortsin said if the communities are able to keep the rich vegetation from bush burning, harvesting and any other destruction for a period of ten years, they could qualify for the grant.
As the municipality prepares to make the most out of the trade and investment fair, it must ensure that parks, gardens and peri-urban natural areas are incorporated into planning of the city and made friendly.
Private companies and enterprises should be made to think and operate environmentally with some incentives for entities showing commitment to the protection of the environment and its sustainability.