Climate advocate completes 60-day West Africa tour on motorbike

By Samuel Akumatey

Ho, Apr. 03, GNA – Christopher Makam, a Ghanaian climate activist, has completed a planned 60-day motorcycle tour of West Africa on a motorbike to promote climate awareness.

The lone campaigner set off from the Volta Region on January 14, 2024, and managed to tour three of the 16 countries in West Africa, but insisted the trip was a success.

He rode a Honda TransAlp motorbike and made his first stop outside the nation’s borders in Ivory Coast during the African Cup of Nations, and then continued through northern Ghana to the Republic of Burkina Faso, exploring countless locations.

He had funded the trip alone, and told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that he received exceptional reception from border officials during his journey, and hoped to embark on a back trip to cover the remaining West African countries.

He had used the trip to study climate patterns as well as various activities causing environmental degradation.

He visited numerous forest reserves, water bodies, mining sites, and also scientific research sites in Ghana and the other countries.

Mr. Makam shared some key observations with the Ghana News Agency, among which were that, most parts of the country’s vegetation was being devastated by bushfires.

These include forest reserves like the Mawbia forest in the Upper West Region.

He said while the wild fires retained intensity in the north, some few locations, including communities around Tono dam such as Chuchuliga were doing enough to prevent bushfires.

The campaigner said game hunting remained the major cause of the fires, and that some stakeholders identified poverty as a major influencer.

He shared the continuing role of cattle grazing charcoal production in forest degradation, adding that the lower regions continued to receive more timber loggers, even in forest reserves.

Mr. Makam said signs of Illegal mining activities were more glaring in the Eastern, Ashanti, and Upper East Regions.

He noted the availability of “more dams for agricultural activities in Northern Ghana”, and said the areas were endowed with numerous climate change related projects.

Mr. Makam said he experienced the coldest temperature of 14 degrees in the Bono Region, and the highest of 52 degrees in the Upper East Region.

Comparing the nation’s climate with that of Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire, he said Ghana needed to do more to address the culture of wildfires and rampant logging.

“Bushfires are common in Ghana compared to Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso. There are no logging activities in the forest reserves in Ivory Coast whiles a lot of logging activities were observed in Ghana’s forest reserves

“Countless afforestation projects in Ghana have been threatened by bushfires, especially in the North.

“Aside stakeholders, most people I engaged with on climate change sensitisation were aware about the extreme weather conditions nowadays. However, only few seem to acknowledge the role of human activities in the negative climate change.”

Mr Makam said he hopes to undertake another trip when possible, and said would require some sponsorship to extend the range and acquire the needed tools and equipment including cameras and monitoring devices.

He plans to undertake a tree planting exercise as part of his second tour, in addition to other activities in collaboration with various stakeholders to promote positive climate action.