Hundreds are expected to take part in a six-day walk starting Saturday 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 will start from Sagyimase to Kyebi passing through some key towns and arrive in Accra next week Thursday.
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.
Atewa Forest Reserve
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 the 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.
Vice president Dr Mahamudu Bawumia negotiated the $15bn facility in 2017
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.
But the government has come under pressure to reconsider its decision since more than 5million 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.
Illegal miners on the edges of Atewa Forest Reserve
The World Water Day scheduled for next week Thursday will be marked across the world.
In a statement Friday, the group explained the object of the walk is “to mobilise and rally citizen action to compel the government to rescind plans to mine bauxite within the Atewa Forest Reserve due to its vital water.”
The group will submit petitions to 13 key personalities over the matter, including president Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and Okyehene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin among others.
Details of the walk are below;
(a) Sagyimase to Kyebi – Saturday, March 17, 2018 (Starting point)
(b) Kyebi to Apedwa – Sunday, March 18, 2018
(c) Apedwa to Asuboi – Monday, March 19, 2018
(d) Asuboi to Nsawam – Tuesday, March 20, 2018
(e) Nsawam to Achimota – Wednesday, March 21, 2018
(f) Achimota to Flagstaff House – Thursday, March 22, 2018