Environmental pressure group, Eco-Citizens GH, is raising grave concerns about appropriation of Parks and Gardens lands for building projects by both individuals and state agencies.
According to the group, the city of Accra is gradually being transformed into a concrete jungle with its attendant challenges and poor air quality.
This, the group said, has culminated in environmental vandalism early this year and the felling of over 140 trees without permission from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Building materials, the group said, have been placed on various Parks and Gardens lands in readiness for concrete development.
A press release from Eco-Citizens signed by Awula Serwah, the Coordinator, averred the inability of relevant authorities to answer simple queries that should be in the public domain is very worrying.
This lack of transparency, it said, is the reason why lands designated as parks, gardens and greenery have been built upon over the years.
The group disclosed that the Lands Commission was unable to provide information on the list of areas designated as park and gardens in Accra upon a query. The group said the Lands Commission rather directed the search to the 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.”
“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.”
“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 it was acquired, a park and playground, and not apartments or offices,” the release stated.
The group observed that trees and greenery are vital to human wellbeing and stressed it would not stand idly while the city’s air quality is compromised by indiscriminate felling of trees and transformation of Accra into a concrete jungle.
“The Good Book tells us that the Lord God took 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,” it stated.