Mr. speaker, we agree
Friday, July 06, 2012
join the speaker of the National Assembly in calling for a halt to activities
that trigger deforestation. Of course any meaningful initiative to prevent
desertification in the country has to begin with putting the log business under
speaker’s call came at a time when we have been stressing on the pages of this
paper, the severity of deforestation in the country, and always advocate for
the concerned authorities to bring it under control. However, it appears that
people are not heeding to the call of the environmentalists. Sometimes we
wonder if forestry officers are receiving bribes to allow indiscriminate
the speaker has expressed concern at the speed in which we are losing our
forest cover, we wish to assure our full cooperation and encourage him as the
head of the apex law making body in the country to encourage even a private
member bill on the subject so that tougher legislation can be passed against
deforestation and all related activities.
The Gambia as we all know is a sahelian country; this implies that the country lies within the sub-tropical savanna belt and prone to desertification. The encroaching desert would have the better of our land if adequate attention is not given to the environment. It is however unfortunate that despite this reality, some damage is still being done to our environment.
What is even more alarming is the fact that deforestation is taking its toll on almost all the regions of the country. The situation is much worse the North Bank Region. Those who know areas the Baddibous must have noticed that apart from the perennial trees like the palm tree, that area is now almost devoid of trees, and has become greatly prone to erosion. The high incidence of bushfires in that part of the country during the dry season further compounds the problem.
Regardless of the unprecedented level of development, the eyesore across the country is the fast degrading state of our environment. Those who trek the country know that in many places all that can be seen are giant savanna elephant grasses, perennial trees and marks of fallen trees.
Department of Forestry and other stakeholders should take a holistic approach
that requires concerted efforts from all and sundry to preserve our forest and
the environment in general. This is fundamental becausethe last few years has indicated to us
that environmental degradation has enhanced the destructive potential of
natural disasters and in some cases hastened their occurrence. Considering the
fact the country lies within the tropical savanna belt, the protection of our
forest for sustainable development should be our prime concern.
Besides, a considerable body of scientific data points to environmental degradation -the erosion of genetic diversity, the loss of species, the degradation of ecosystems, and the decline of ecosystem services as a direct cause of many of the most pressing issues the world faces today including poverty, declining human health, hunger, undrinkable water, emerging disease, rural-urban migration and civil strife.
It is therefore obvious that the preservation of our forest constitutes a critical pillar in the attainment of our national development paradigm. However, regardless of these realities, a Sahelian country like The Gambia is engaged in logging and exporting of timber. Even though we are aware that the trade cannot be stopped due to many factors, the authorities concerned have to ensure that those who are in the trade recognise these facts in their struggle to maximise the business. Indiscriminate felling of trees is detrimental to sustainable development. They should put sustainable development first before profit.
it is a fact that the challenge of maintaining a balance between growth and
preservation has for long confronted many a rising nation. Yet, we must not
yield to the line of least resistance by clearing our fields whenever the need
arises without thinking of the consequences of our actions to both the current
generation and posterity.
A commitment to replace every tree that is felled would go a long way in preserving our ecosystem. Not only would this increase the quantum of our flora, and hence the fauna, but more importantly, it would ingrain in the young the culture of being sensitive to our common heritage -the environment.
the environment is not a luxury, not a Gucci accessory bag or a fancy silk tie
affordable only when all other issues have been resolved. It is the oxygen
breathing life into all the Goals. It is the red ribbon running around our
common aspirations for a healthier, more stable and just world.
The Forestry Department should acknowledge these facts and take active steps to ensure that those who are legally accredited to be engaged in the timber trade do so with caution and those who are illegally felling the trees just for their selfish interest are apprehended and brought to justice. They should also embark on a massive sensitisation campaignto ensure that the people are enlightened about the significance of preserving the forest.
In as much as we struggle for development, we owe a great debt to our environment.
Author: Daily Observer