Bush fires is a major environmental challenge facing Ghana as a nation.
Environmental challenges includes several activities of man that upset the environment in Ghana.
Some of these forms of environmental challenges includes bushfires, land pollution, noise pollution and air pollution.
Considering bushfires as the main topic, it refers to the indiscriminate setting of fire to the vegetation of forest land, leading to its destruction.
Firstly, a major cause of bushfires in our country especially in the Northern regions the is slash and burn method of farming.
This is a major cause of bushfires within our enclave.
It is a farming practice in which the farmer clears the land of vegetation and when the debris is dried, he or she sets fire to it. This can lead to the outbreak of fire destroying other farms and vegetation.
Secondly, domestic activities can also lead to bushfires. Some of these domestic activities includes cooking, hunting and smoking.
Farmers who cook on the farm cause bushfires in the in our part of the country.
When farmers set fire to cook on the farm, they sometimes do not put the fire off when they are done cooking but tend to leave it bare thinking that it may go off by itself. The wind blowing may blow the embers onto dry vegetation causing outbreak of fire.
Hunters also cause bushfires as they set fire to trap animals such as rats and grasscutters for their game.
The fire set by the hunters can lead to a fire outbreak destroying a vast expanse vegetation.
In addition to the points raised, people who burn charcoal in the bush is another major cause of bushfires in Northern regions.
Effects of bushfires on the environment includes destruction of vegetation. This involves the destruction of plants and crops, especially cashew plants making the land bare and exposed to harsh climate conditions which leads to the reduction of agricultural production.
Another effect of bushfire is extinction of rare animals such as Tigers, lions, leopards and deer are also destroyed.
They lose their lives because the forest is their habitat.
Desertification is also another major effect of bushfires. This is when the land is made bare and the soil losses it’s biological potential to such an extent that it cannot be used for agricultural activities.
However, bushfires can be controlled by enforcing of legislation.
The laws that have been established to protect the environment from bushfires should be strictly enforced.
Stiffer punishment in the form of heavy fines and long prison sentence should be meted out to people who flaut these laws to prevent the repetition of the assault on the environment and to serve as deterrent to others.
Moreover, public education is one of the most effective measures that can be adopted to control bushfires in the country. There is the need for people to become aware of the dangers.
In addition to the points raised is the creation of fire belts. The creation of fire belts is another effective measure to control bushfires and it is where enough space are created between farms.
In conclusion, all the points raised above are evidential that bushfires has a great negative effect on humans, their environs, animals, plants and other organisms.
By Chipo Kwaku