The Coalition of Students in Conservation is calling on government to delist Atewa Forest Reserve from targeted areas for bauxite mining before the final agreement is implemented.
Speaking at a press conference organized at the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources Auditorium on Wednesday, the group in a statement read by the Judicial Chairman of the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources Students Association at KNUST, Kpatakpa Francis indicated that the reservation of the forest will help secure water supply for future generations.
They are therefore appealing to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to use his Executive power to declare Atewa Forest as a National Park. They believe this will provide some level of security and stability for the implementation of sustainable activities and entrench Ghana’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goals 6, 13,11 and 15.
They are also entreating government to intensify efforts in the fight against galamsey which has caused massive pollution of major rivers and water bodies in the country including River Pra and the Birim River. They added that if this challenge is not addressed, there could be water crisis in Ghana in the future.
“Clearly more than ever, Ghana’s water resources specifically, the sources which comprise of our surface water bodies like streams and rivers are under threat. The UN forum on forests, indicates that around 1.6 billion people worldwide depend on forests for their basic needs of food, water, medicine, fuel, energy and income. It is projected that by 2025, some 1.8 billion people will face absolute water scarcity and even greater numbers will deal with water stressed conditions”.
Coalition of Students in Conservation (COSIC) further added that the Atewa Forest Reserve should not be used for mining of bauxite because it is one critical water source in Ghana.
“One critical water source in Ghana is the Atewa Forest Reserve. The forest provides water to over 5 million Ghanaians spread across the Greater Accra Region, Eastern and parts of the central region. It is interesting to know that, the Densu, Ayensu and Birim River all take source from the Atewa Forest Reserve”.
The students have released the statement as a result of the announcement made by Ghana’s Vice President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia on the partnership agreement with the government of China for a 15- billion dollar facility in exchange of Ghana’s bauxite resources to support the country’s massive developmental agenda.
“Report from the discussions with the Chinese indicate that, one of the target areas for this mineral exploitation is the Atewa Forest Reserve. We wish to say that as students, we are not against the government of Ghana leveraging on our many bauxite mineral deposits to develop our beloved country. However, we are concerned about the plans of government in this new MOU with the Chinese to extract bauxite beneath the Atewa forest reserve which provides water to many Ghanaians”.
Source: Edward Oppong Marfo