From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Tree Planting Day Observed In Kenema
By Paul Lamin in Kenema
Jun 9, 2010, 17:00

The Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Food Security (MAFF) in collaboration with other government ministries at the Horticulture Station in Kenema has over the weekend observed the National Tree Planting Day in Kenema on the theme; ‘Plant trees to protect your environment and control climate change’. The ceremony attracted people from all works of life including Local Councils, Gola Forest Official, members of the Agricultural Community and Timber Development Association.

Delivering his speech, the District Forest Officer Thomas Dixon Kallon said June 5th of every year has been slated as a symbolic and ceremonial occasion to observe in every part of the country as a National Tree Planting day. He said the aim of this activity is not just to attribute it to environmental protection but to create consciousness and awareness in the minds or the people on how to improve on their environment.

The District Forest Officer further noted that the change in climate condition is a signal for the country to be affected by global warming; especially that Sierra Leone lies in the tropics and experienced hot and humid climate.

Mr. Kallon under scored the importance of forest, saying that it helps in absorbing poisonous gas in the environment, provides food for people, and serve as source of foreign exchange, source of water catchments and safe drinking water as well as Ecotourism facilities among others.

On his part, the District Director of Agriculture Rashid Kamara expressed delight for such program, adding that the ceremony is not only for forest protection purpose but for the preservation and maintenance of the national biodiversity. He called on all to engage in the tree planting exercises so as to help protect the environment and control climate change. For him, the Chief Administrator for Kenema District Council Charlie Kallon said the nature of every forest helps to develop its biodiversity, adding that despite the favorable conditions around man as compared to animals, more people get sick that animals on a daily bases. He went on that human activities, such as mining, farming, and uncontrolled bush fire have led to massive deforestation which has in turn caused untold human suffering and hardship.

Gilbert Koker, a representation from Across the River Trans Boundary Peace Park said law environment unit for the district forest office needs to be strengthened, while urging them to put measure in place in order to counter law breakers.

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