Firewood has been a major source of fuel in most senior high and basic schools in Upper West and with the rate at which the ozone layer is depleting, it calls for emergency steps.
Upper West has 78 Senior high schools and these schools use dry wood for cooking to feed the students on boarding enrollment.
A trip of firewood is estimated to cost Ghc1,200 and with a school of 1,000 population expected to feed students thrice in a day, the school is expected to purchase not less than 5(45 trees per trip) trips in a term to meet the demand. This mean more trees have to be brought down to meet the growing demand for firewood in over 70 senior high schools in Upper West not including the basic schools relying on school feeding.
This underground effect is in the long round making upper west a desert as more trees will be lost as student population keeps increasing in Upper West.
Trees have an influence in our rain cycle. The trees we have today are mostly commercial plants precisely Shear trees, Cashew Trees, Mango Trees, Paw Paw trees etc and for the medicinal purposes, uncountable.
The reconsideration of fuel generation methodology will help reduce several hazards within
1. Visual Effects of Smoke and direct fire on cooks who fall within the non teaching category.
Some of these cooks are likely to be affected by stroke as the magnitude of fire they are exposed to is alarming, the fire can’t be regulated as it is based on the air, humidity and temperature and with this workers have no option than to go through heat burns.
Secondly, the smoke from Wood has so much effects on the vision of people within the kitchen, the effects in the lungs of these workers who are likely to contract lung infections. They are likely to also contract partial blindness as the smoke keeps flying in their eyes.
2. Desertification has become the source of income for most natives of upper west within the rural areas as firewood harvesting has become the order of the day, this is beginning to do more harm than good and the Regional Director of Education and other stakeholders have been called upon to get reliable ways to run the kitchen without necessarily depending on firewood for cooking.
Some Strategies Recommended
1. Use of Gas in the Various schools in place of Firewood will reduce the rate at which cash plants and other medicinal trees are cut down in the name of firewood.
The cost of Gas as compared with wood is relatively lower and per the effect on the environment, wood has more effect as it emits smoke which depletes the ozone and causes health risks to workers.
This method will also reduce the pressure on our forest reserve for firewood.
2. Bio Gas: The use of bio gas as a source of fuel has of late been a reliable venture, it is affordable and timely as one only has to use faecal deposits of students in the various toilet facilities to generate fuel. This method only needs available faecal deposits which can be gotten from students and in the end be used also as a medium to reduce open defecation in the various schools as students will be compelled to use the toilet facilities for the school to be able to generate enough toilet for the generation of this energy.
With these two flexible options institutions will be able to save our forest reserves and our life trees by ending firewood harvest because it has a negative effect on the environment and we the humans at large.
By: Tuorimuo Elvis Philip
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