The Kpalime Traditional Area in the South Dayi District of the Volta region has committed to using its annual Kpalikpakpa festival to conserve the environment in the wake of rapid degradation largely due to inconsiderate human activity.
The festival was launched with ceremonial tree planting activities with support from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Over 200 trees were planted to among others, serve as vegetation covers and wind breaks.
Togbega Atikpladza Agbi Yao VIII, Paramount Chief of the Traditional Area, at a grand durbar at Kpalime Duga to climax the celebration bemoaned the long term destruction resulting from the indiscriminate felling of trees for commercial gains, and promised to work with stakeholders to restore the environment.
“I call on all to support the Traditional area to plant more trees and clean up the environment to enable us have a better life,” he said.
The Festival was on the theme: “Accelerated Development through Peace and Unity”, with the Paramount Chief calling on the people to uphold peace, unity and discipline as tenets to help the area realise its developmental ambitions.
Togbega Agbi Yao made an appeal to government to help address the long standing challenges in education, water, health, infrastructure and employment in the area, saying, “the failure of past and present governments to execute key projects in the Kpalime Traditional Area for decades is disappointing, to say the least”.
Mr John Pwamamg, Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who chaired the durbar said a well preserved environment was key to development, and that the Agency would adopt Kpalime Duga as one of the areas it would work with in safeguarding the natural environment.
He said a waste segregation programme would be introduced in selected basic schools in the community, and hinted that the area would host the regional celebration of the World Environment Day, next year.
Mr Rockson Dafeamekpor, Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dayi Constituency, said, “as we drum and dance, let the rhythms of the drums that presents a uniform sound, inform our communal progress and our communal spirit must be rekindled”.
The MP said on the side-lines that his office had initiated tree planting activities in communities along the Volta River with the aim of checking erosion, and providing the needed vegetation cover.
He said he was engaging the EPA, waste managers, and the National Disaster Management Organisation to address challenges arising from rising river levels, which often flooded homes and submerged farms.
Mr Patrick Mallet, District Chief Executive for South Dayi said there was a lot the area could benefit from government’s flagship programmes, adding that the Assembly was aware of the challenges facing the area and was working to have them addressed.
This year’s celebration is the 23rd since the festival was instituted, and it is the first since Togbega Atikpladza Agbi Yao VIII ascended the throne.
The durbar was attended by chiefs and people from neighbouring communities, as well as dance, and cultural troupes who kept the event in colour.
A fundraiser was held at the event towards the construction of a proposed chief’s palace.
Kpalikpakpa is celebrated annually to memorialise the historical achievements of the people of Kpalime, and to reawaken the ancestral spirit of unity, which helped the seven towns in migrating to their present location.
It is also held to help rally the people towards the development of the area.