Editorial: ECG should have a case to answer if…

The Ghanaian Times reported yesterday that the East La Burma Valley Residents Association in Accra has given the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) a one-week ultimatum to replant 50 trees it felled in the area, without recourse to its envi­ronmental impact.

The paper quoted the residents as saying that the conduct of the ECG defeats the government’s ‘Green Ghana’ project, and that the trees must be replanted as soon as practicable.

The President of the Association, Mrs. Linda Stepper, who addressed a news conference on behalf of the residents, reportedly threatened to take the matter up in court should the ECG fail to come up with steps to restore the damage it had caused along the roads.

“It’s very sad and heartbreaking, but we will be instructing our lawyers after one week of this press conference to serve ECG if they fail to respond with concrete measures on how to restore the lost trees they have destroyed, because this act alone is a major setback to all the efforts people are making towards miti­gating climate change and global warming,” Mrs. Stepper said as reported by the newspaper.

What has annoyed the residents is the fact that eight years ago, the Association purchased over 3,500 Royal Palm and Mililia trees, and with support from the Assembly planted these trees along most places in the Municipality.

Eight years down the line, the ECG used just a day to mow down these trees without consulting the Association, the Assembly or the Parks and Garden office in the Munici­pality.

The paper did not speak to the ECG to get its side of the story, however, the issue of illegal tree felling is becoming hackneyed in the Accra Metropolis.

Indeed, some years back, the late former President Jerry John Rawlings went public and complained bitterly about the way trees in the Accra Metropolis, especially those along the ceremonial routes, were being chopped down.

Meanwhile, there is a law which says that before one cuts down a tree, the person must first seek permission from the Forestry Commission (FC).

We stand to be corrected though, but we are yet to hear from the FC publicly condemning the illegal felling of trees for people’s parochial interests. As we put this piece together, some of the trees along the Lagos Avenue at East Legon have been cut down because it blocks residential properties that are being constructed along the road.

A picture is currently circulating on social media depicting the green environment of one of the streets in Kigali, Rwanda. Unfortunately, instead of replicating this in our country, we are rather cutting down the few ones we have planted.

As we indicated earlier, we do not know the reason behind the action the ECG has reportedly taken at East La Burma Valley, but apart from posing a danger to their lines, there can never be any justification for the reported decision the company took to cut down the trees.

Even in the event that the trees were indeed posing a danger to their power transmission lines, they ought to have consulted the residents and the Assembly, but this, according to the residents, was not done.

The Chronicle, therefore, supports the warning by the residents to drag the power distribution company to court should it fail to replant the trees as is being demanded.

This, we believe, will serve as a deterrent to those who may want to cut down trees without thinking about its negative repercussions on the very survival of mankind on Planet Earth.


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