The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is cautioning the public against the felling of trees without permit, especially in urban areas.
According to EPA, individuals who intend felling trees situated in or around their compound should seek permission from them before doing so.
This was made known at a training programme for core journalists on environmental and persuasive reporting and related activities, organised by the agency.
Taking participants through responsibilities of the EPA as far as natural resources were concerned, Chief Programme Officer, Natural Resources Department, EPA, Mrs. Jewel Kudjawu indicated that the objective was to ensure protection and improvement of urban trees.
The Agency takes power from Regulation 1(2) of the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999, LI 1652.
The regulation states that; “No person shall commence activities in respect of any undertaking which in the opinion of the Agency has or is likely to have adverse effect on the environment or public health unless, prior to the commencement, the undertaking has been registered by the Agency in respect of the undertaking.”
Issues of indiscriminate cutting down of trees in the country have become a major problem, with its negative impact on the society.
It would be recalled that a Chinese lady, Helen Huang, was recently arrested for illegal felling of rosewood from the forest, indicating that there are laws governing that.
However, there is little or no knowledge on the illegality or otherwise, and the need for individuals to obtain permit before felling trees in their houses.
Explaining further to journalists in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the workshop, Mrs Kudjawu said there should be awareness created for the public to be familiar with the provisions in the law.
She said, “failure to obtain permit from EPA before cutting down trees in your homes will call for sanctions,” she stressed.
While at it, she stressed the importance of urban trees in the ecosystem. “Urban trees play a lot of roles in our ecosystem. It improves micro climate, provides natural habitat for some animals and in some cases serve as wind break ,” she explained.
The EPA is undergoing a programme to train journalists on its mandates and on how the two can collaborate to propagate the EPA message to the public.