From Richard Owusu-Akyaw .
At the time the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) and other stakeholders are doing their best to reafforest Kumasi, the Prisons and Police services, backed by the Forestry Commission, are also thwarting the efforts by felling trees in the Garden City.
A mighty tree on the Major Kobbina Road, which served as a windbreak and crash barrier, has been felled by the Kumasi Central Prisons, which was reportedly acting upon the orders of the Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander, DCOP Fred Adu Anin.
On a working visit to Ridge a few days ago, The Chronicle saw a chainsaw operator, together with prisoners, standing adjacent the bungalow of the Deputy Ashanti Regional Police Commander, cutting the branches of the felled tree into pieces.
This paper has, on a number of occasions, sighted Prisons Service personnel cutting down trees in the Kumasi Metropolis. Information available to The Chronicle established that these trees are turned into firewood and used to prepare food for the prison inmates.
Not only is the action anti-environment, but it is also at odds with the United Nations (UN) Sustainability Development Goal (SDG) 15, of which President Akufo-Addo is the Co-Chair.
With climate change threatening the existence of mankind, the world is steadily waking up from its slumber, and unfortunately, the Kumasi Prisons Service does not appreciate the danger they are inviting upon humanity.
CENTRAL PRISONS PRO
Speaking to the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Kumasi Central Prisons, ASP Richard M. Bukari, he admitted that they had felled tree(s) for firewood, but stressed they do not do it on their own. ASP Bukari maintained that their tree-felling activities are always backed by the relevant authorities and that the recent one The Chronicle was following was actually on the orders of the Deputy Regional Police Commander.
The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) has expressed worry about this development. In an interview with the head of environment at the Assembly, Mr. Isaac Bassan Fin, he expressed concern over the development, saying the assembly was making Kumasi Green and Clean, but others are not appreciating it.
According to him, the KMA has planted thousands of trees and intends to plant a lot more to address climate change issues, which is threatening the existence of humanity.
Impeccable information gathered by this paper has it that the government’s budgetary allocation to the Prison Service is not enough, and that they have to look elsewhere to raise funds to support the feeding of the inmates.
DEPUTY ASHANTI REGIONAL POLICE COMMANDER
When this reporter contacted ACP Fred Adu Anin over the issue, he asked, “Is that all you want to ask me?” to which this reporter answered in the affirmative. He continued: “I do not have any answer for you. You can contact the Forestry Commission,” and hang up.
After hanging up on this reporter, the Ashanti Regional Public Relations Officer of the Regional Police Command, ASP Godwin Ahianyo, called asking this reporter to come over to the command for a meeting with his superior, who lost his temper and hang up whilst talking to the reporter.
In the meeting at his office, the Commander complained about the way and manner The Chronicle approached him on phone, saying it was not ethical. Adu Anin told this reporter that he has read and cannot be intimidated. He directed this reporter to go to the Ashanti Regional Forestry Commission (FC) and ask what led to the felling down of the tree.
The Ashanti Regional Director of the Forestry Commission, Thomas Okyere, admitted his outfit was aware of the felling of the tree, which was done for safety reasons. He mentioned that the said tree had grown tall and could have easily fallen on the building of the police boss should there be any windy rainstorm.
Asked why the tree was not trimmed but rather cut down, he responded that the best way to ensure the safety of the police boss was to cut down the tree.
IMPORTANCE OF TREES TO MAN AND THE ENVIRONMENT
In an interview with Prof Charles Antwi-Bosiako, Head of Wood Science & Technology, Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, about the essence of trees in our society, he mentioned that trees lower the air temperature and reduce the heat intensity of the greenhouse effect.
According to him, trees act as a natural air conditioner by blocking sunlight in the summer and allowing sunlight to reach and warm your home in the winter.
The academician continued that trees clean the air by absorbing odour and potentially harmful gases (Nitogen, Sulphur Oxide and Ozone), adding that trees also filter small particles (i.e., particulates) out of the air by trapping them on their leaves.
Prof Antwi-Bosiako further noted that trees help reduce the heating and cooling costs on oil and natural gas in the temperate zones.
Prof Antwi-Bosiako, who also doubles as a church leader, explained that fallen tree leaves can reduce soil temperature and soil moisture loss. Decaying leaves, through decomposition, promote soil microorganisms, adding that they increase ground water recharge and cut back on the number of harmful chemicals transported into our streams.
He said the presence of trees gives shade, which creates micro climate where you can grow shade-loving plants. Trees help reduce surface water run-off from storms, thus, decreasing soil erosion and accumulation of sediments in streams.
The university don, again, told this reporter that trees provide habitats for wildlife and serve as food to some animals, as they feed on the leaves for nourishment.
He continued that trees serve as an effective sound barrier against noise pollution, especially around our aerodromes and airports.