A NUMBER of communities along Rivers Tano and Akantansu in the Asutifi District in the Brong Ahafo Region are to benefit from an afforestation project.
The project is aimed at protecting the two rivers whose biodiversity has been seriously degraded over the years due to human activities as well as the recent surface mining in the area.
The beneficiary communities are Ntotroso, Gyedu, Kenyasi Number One, Wamahinso and Kenyasi Number Two.
The project involves tree-planting, sensitising the communities to the environment as a whole and to solicit their support to ensure its viability.
Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), a local environmental, human rights and advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO) based at Kenyasi, is undertaking the project.
At the launch of the project at Ntotroso, the Executive Director of LEG, Mr Richard Adjei-Poku, said the NGO was formed in 2004 in reponse to the livehood challenges presented by environmental degradation and mining in the area.
He said the two rivers contributed to the livelihoods of the people in the area as well as their domestic activities, while the river Tano is the main source of water used by Newmont for their operations in the Ahafo area.
Mr Adjei-Poku said LEG had received support from the Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) to go into tree-planting.
He said in that regard, LEG would plant more than 2,000 species of trees along the two rivers as apart of the project.
Mr Adjei-Poku advised the communities along the banks of the two rivers to desist from farming close to the rivers, and to refrain from indiscriminate felling of trees and bush burning.
The Environmental Programme Officer of the Third World Network, Mr Abdulai Darimani urged the beneficiary communities to take the project seriously and ensure its success.
He also urged government agencies like the Ghana National Fire Service, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Forestry Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to offer technical support to farmers and communities living close to water bodies.
That, he said, would enable the farmers to conduct their activities in a manner which would cause minimal destruction to the environment.