…As national tree planning day celebrated
June 9, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Mayor of Freetown, His Worship Franklyn Bode Gibson, has vowed to use his office to ensure that the capital Freetown is green, by planting trees in empty spaces within the municipality.
Mayor Gibson was yesterday speaking at the Freetown City Council Park on Siaka Steven Street at an event to observe national tree planting day, adding that council would plant trees on the hills and in other parts of the country.
He said that because council had not be celebrating national planting trees for the past four years, they decided to observe the day this year by dubbing it ‘beatification day of the Freetown municipality’ by planting trees and flowers around the capital, to make it look greener.
He described the day as significant because of massive deforestation in the country, adding that only reforestation could help prevent an environmental tragedy in future.
He said Sierra Leone had been categorised as the third most dangerous country in the world that is vulnerable to environmental disaster, but that planting trees could turn things around and save the city from future trouble.
He noted with consternation that whenever it rains drainages in the city over flood, which he blamed on felling of tree on the hilltop and in the city.
He said the tree planting exercise would continue all over the city beyond the day and called on everyone who owns a house in the municipality to start planting trees in their compounds so that the city can again look green.
He said the world is experiencing flooding in France, Germany and England, while other parts had experience dangerous floods in the past, adding the phenomenon could happen in Sierra Leone if people keep felling trees without replacing them.
While planting a tree on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Professor Monty P. Jones said the prerequisites of sustainable cities was on how to make environments stable, safe and appealing, adding that sustainability means growth for the present without jeopardising the prospects for the future.
He said Freetown is historically a beautiful city with great landscapes, mountains dotted out of the sea which presence in the eyes of the founders of the city led for it to be named ‘Land of Lion Mountains’, adding that the name of the city depicts early foundations of solitude, peace and calm after a stormy past of slavery.
He said the beautification of Freetown should be part of desire to keep the tradition of a city once touted as the ‘Athens of West Africa’ and revealed that his ministry had taken the lead by engaging a group of forestry experts to replant trees on over 260 acres of depleted forests around catchment areas of Guma and its environs.
“The government is prepared to use all it takes to regain the environmental balance in our growing city and also make life for people easier and more enjoyable. That is why we are taking steps to protect our forests and at the home level, we want to encourage people to plant flowers and even some house garden to beautify their environs,” he said.