Group protests against mining in Atewa forest

Hundreds were  expected to take part in a six-day walk which  started  Saturday, March 17, 2018  to protest the government’s decision to mine in the Atewa Forest Reserve in the Eastern Region.

Led by a group called Concerned Citizens of the Atewa Landscape, the protesters were expected to  start from Sagyimase to Kyebi passing through some key towns and arrive in Accra this week  Thursday, March 22, 2018.

The 95-kilometre journey will be used to highlight the significance of the Reserve and, why mining there will be injurious to the survival of millions of Ghanaians.

Created in 1926, the Atewa Range Forest Reserve has served as the headwater for three major rivers namely Ayensu, Densu and Birim as well as the laboratory for an unlimited array of species.

It is one of two such forest reserves left untouched in Ghana covering a total land area of 263km2, which represents about 33 percent of the remaining closed forest in Eastern Region.

But government has decided to mine bauxite in the Reserve “within the range” as leverage for a $15billion joint venture deal with China to develop an integrated aluminium industry.

The deal reached in June last year is the biggest partnership by far an African government has reached with the Chinese regime led by Xi Jinping.

However, the government has come under pressure to reconsider its decision since more than  five million Ghanaians depend on the three rivers that take their source from the Reserve.

Spurred on by the theme for this year’s World Water Day “Nature for Water”, the Concerned Citizens of the Atewa Landscape said mining in the Reserve will damage the ecosystem which will also affect the quality of water available for consumption.

The World Water Day scheduled for Thursday will be marked across the world.

In a statement issued to the media on Friday, March  16, 2018, the group explained that  the object of the walk is “to mobilise and rally citizen action to compel the government to rescind its decision  to mine bauxite within the Atewa Forest Reserve due to its vital water.”

 

Story: Kofi OWUSU TAWIAH

Writer’s email: kofi.tawiah@todaygh.com

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