Nov 26, 2008, 6:19 AM
The need for people to desist from the habit of illegal cutting of trees should stop now rather than later.
It has been reported over the past one month that forestry officials in the country apprehended some people accused of illegal cutting of trees in certain parts of the country, especially in Kombo South, North of the West Coast Region and the North Bank Region.
This practice must cease, as it badly destroys our forest cover, thus impacting negatively on the environment.
Most people also cut trees illegally for the purpose of burning charcoal. Both illegal cutting of trees and charcoal burning are prohibited in the Forestry Act.
Notwithstanding, these and many others are responsible for the disappearance of our precious resources.
It's our collective responsibility as Gambians and non-Gambians residing in the country to raise our voice against this illegal practice.
It's imperative to note that, here in The Gambia, very few people do plant trees for a replacement of the one they have cut.
Going by reports, many people have been apprehended, especially last year, over illegal cutting of trees and charcoal burning.
Recently, we also hear the Director of Forestry stress that his office will not compromise with anyone found wanting.
We applaud the Director and his team for executing their duties effectively in uncovering those responsible for this menace.
To the offenders, we say try something else as an alternative source of income, such as farming or to venture into something productive.
It's very sad that while organisations such as Youth Group in Action are actively engaged in planting trees, as well as activities such as Standard Chartered Bank's "Go Green Initiative" which is also helping to transform the natural environment for the good, others are hell bent on destroying it.
We must commend these institutions, and all other departments and institutions, which are in one way or the other supporting tree-planting initiatives, and thus discouraging deforestation.
We also encourage all Gambians to consider planting a tree, especially as the rainy season approaches when one would not need to water them.
In the same vein, local authorities should as well sensitise communities on the dangers associated with the illegal cutting of trees, and punish those found culpable under the Forestry Act.
"I suggest we learn to love ourselves before it's made illegal."