Thursday, 2 July 2015

A Ministerial Committee Must Investigate Cause Of Partial Collapse Of The Bunso Arboretum's Forest Canopy Walkway

It is important that the ministry of tourism, culture and creative arts sets up a committee, to investigate the 1st July, 2016,  Republic Day holiday accident, which occured at the Bunso arboretum - when part of the forest canopy walkway there apparently collapsed.

It is said to have led to a number of visitors being injured. We must be thankful that no fatalities were recorded at the arboretum that day.

From reports in the media, it appears that over-exuberant visitors rocking it whiles traversing the canopy walkway, might have had a bearing on that unfortunate accident.

It is important, from a public safety standpoint, that the committee establishes the actual cause of the partial collapse of the Bunso canopy walkway.

Most of all, the ministerial committee should make recommendations, which will prevent such a tragedy from recurring anywhere in Ghana, again.

As someone who is personally involved in a planned project to build the world's longest forest canopy walkway, at Akyem Juaso, one would welcome such a public enquiry.

Forest canopy walkways are a vital in-situ logistics resource providing a unique living laboratory platform for biodiversity researchers - and are an important educational tool for inculcating a love of nature amongst young people.

Private individuals who invest in them ought to be encouraged - and supported financially. One way to do so, will be to grant them exemption from paying duty and taxes, on all the imported materials needed for constructing forest canopy walkways.

Preserving what remains of our nation's natural heritage will succeed only when young people treasure our forests - and actively seek to conserve them. Traversing forest canopy walkways develops a lifelong love of nature amongst many young people.

The Bunso arboretum's forest canopy walkway has definitely had a positive impact on many - who have come to appreciate the importance of preserving Ghana's forests: as a result of visiting the arboretum to traverse the Bunso canopy walkway.

This, no doubt, is a trying time for the Bunso arboretum's canopy walkway's owners - but they must not be discouraged: as out of this tragedy will no doubt emerge a unique eco-tourism attraction, whose entire operations will be underpinned by an ethos of professionalism - and guided at all material times by the highest global safety standards.

That is why a ministerial committee to establish the cause of the partial collapse of the Bunso forest canopy walkway is a must - as the committee's report is bound to include recommendations on ensuring the safety of all forest canopy walkaways in Ghana.

Above all, from the perspective of visitors, they must all be adequately insured. Since no insurance company will insure a canopy walkway that is not properly maintained, and safe, that can only be good for the general public who traverse Ghana's forest canopy walkways. 

That will help restore public confidence in a niche market in Ghana's  eco-tourism industry that is beginning to attract private investors. We must not forget that tourism makes a significant contribution to Ghana's GDP.

And, in an age of global climate change, Ghana' forest canopy walkways are important conservation-through-ecotourism attractions, which help conserve our forests. They ought to be safe for visitors - and setting up a ministerial committee to investigate what caused the partial collapse of the Bunso arboretum's canopy walkway will help ensure that.

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