Current trending issues in the country concerning the $2 billion government of Ghana and China sinohydro barter agreement that has focused on Ghana’s Bauxite deposit is the Pivot of the discussion on various media platforms.
Many Organizations, groups, Institutions and individuals that, opposes the mining of Bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve and also asking the Government of Ghana led by Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo to reconsider the decision of mining Bauxite in the Atewa landscape for a national park.
Many people have raised voices against the Government attempt to mine Bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve.
Professor Emmanuel Danquah, a lecturer at the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology(KNUST), recently has advised Government to reconsider it’s intention of giving out the Atewa forest for Bauxite mining.
Speaking at the Maiden national conference organized by the Faculty of development studies of the Presbyterian university college( PUC) at Akropong-Akuapem, Prof Danquah said Ghana risks suffering long term disadvantages if it proceeds to mine Bauxite in the Atewa forest.
Prof. Indicated that though the country would make some profit from mining Bauxite, it was also necessary to appreciate that, the Atewa forest reserve is an important water source for most of the river bodies in the country.
The Conference was on the theme: “Environment management and livelihood: Nexus towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals.”
Ghana to leverage Bauxite resources to finance construction of Roads, houses .
A socio-Economic Development scenario study report that, was established into 2016 by The then minister of Lands and Natural resources Nii Osagyefo mills stated ” clearly, we can simply cannot continue doing business as usual and to this I reiterate the commitment of the Government of Ghana to designate Atewa Range forest reserve as a national park ” and that makes it clear that, Atewa forest cannot be use to mine Bauxite.
Another expect has also indicated that, Atewa forest reserve can be used as a tourist attraction center,
Atewa forest is a potential income of over US $5 million per anum, tourism create alternative livelihood for the forest fringe communities, Building on demonstrated success of Kakum national park. It B we talk about Biodiversity wealth, Atewa is a special biological protection area, a hill sanctuary , a Globally significant Biodiversity Area and an important Bird area.
Atewa forest provides 227 species of birds, 50 mammals, 32 amphibians, 650 plants and 700 species of Butterflies that is best location in West Africa . over 100 species critically endangered. ( White naped Mangabeys ,Afiabrago puddle frog) and 28 species that are in the danger of global exhibition.
Arocha Ghana is also an environmental protection Advocate that has also raised high Voices against the mining of Bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve.
According to arocha Ghana, the Atewa forest is an important Ecosystem because; It serves as Source of water for three River systems which are ; the Densu, Ayensu, and Birim.
It is of two remaining upland evergreen forest reserve in Ghana, representing about 33.5% of the remaining closed forest in the Eastern region of Ghana.
According to them, River Densu, Ayensu and Birim are important sources of domestic, agricultural and industrial water for local communities as well as major population centers, including Greater Accra and Eastern region and part of central region. It’s estimated that about Five(5) million Ghanaians depend on these water sources.
The forest vegetation provides critical watershed protection that ensures constant supply of water for all to utilize.
There were other groups around the Atewa enclaves who also campaigned for the upgrade of Atewa forest into a national park. The concerned citizens of the Atewa landscape extended from the Atewa forest to the capital to petition the president and various traditional authorities to transform the forest into a national park that can attract Tourist to boost Ghana’s Economy.
Those depending on the rich agricultural lands around the Forest want protection for the water and climate stability service from the forest
The former president Jerry John Rawlings also said that, the ” the most important resource for survival is clean air , the second most important is water , we do not see the honour of God in the water we have at our disposal. The spirit of God is both water and air ” this means when we temper with our forest reserve man will suffer in life.
During the current president Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo’s swearing in , he stated it categorically that, ” we should all recognize the Danger we face by the alarming Degradation of our environment and work to protect our water bodies , our forest, our lands and the Ocean.
We should learn and accept that , we do not own the land but hold it in trust for generations yet unborn and therefore, have a responsibility to take good care of it and all it contains.
A few days ago after the president’s return from China to secure US $2 million to mine Bauxite in the Atewa forest reserve, Some traditional authorities around the Atewa landscape has also raised red flags against the plans to mine Bauxite in the Atewa forest.
Speaking in an interview with the Kessbenfm.com reporter Tweneboah Koduah , the chief of Akyem Kwabeng Hene Okyeman Gyaasehene Daasebre Ayimadu Kantamanto expressed his disappointment in government plans to mine Atewa forest for Bauxite.
Daasebre Ayimadu Kantamanto suggested that, he will plead with the Government to rather use the Forest reserve for other purposeful use instead of the Bauxite.
According to him , he is not against the Government in anyway to mine Bauxite in Ghana but but rather consider the Ecosystem in the forest , water bodies in the Forest that can assist people in many diverse ways.
Ayimadu, explained the consequences dry out will bring in the country with when Ghana government attempt to temper with the forest reserve .