Concerned Citizens from towns and villages surrounding the Atiwa Forest in the Eastern region are embarking on one week walk from the Eastern region to the national capital, Accra, to remind the government on the need to turn the Atiwa Forest into a National park, instead of turning it into a Bauxite mining concession.
The prime objective of the walk is to mobilise and rally ‘citizen action’ to compel government to rescind its plans to mine bauxite within the Atiwa Forest Reserve, due to its vital water services for over 5 million people in Ghana.
The walk will cover a total distance of 95 km, starting from the forest landscape in the East Akyem District and end in Accra on Saturday.
The route will pass through communities such as; Sagyimase, Kyebi, Apedwa, Asuboi, Nsawam, Achimota and then to the Flagstaff House.
Over the weekend, there was a protest against the government’s decision to mine in the forest.
The protesters held placards with inscriptions like: “When you save water, it saves you back”, “No Atewa No Ayensu”, among others.
The Chief of Suhum, Osabarima Ayeh Kofi II, who addressed the youth group, hailed them for the move and called on the government to rescind its intention to use Atiwa Forest as barter for $15 billion deal with the Chinese, in a bid to develop an integrated aluminum industry.
The chief said 78 years of bauxite mining in Ghana has brought poverty and distress to the country and assured them of his support. The Atiwa Forest Reserve is an ecosystem that provides water to over 5 million people in Ghana.
Mr. Daryl E. Bosu, the Deputy National Director -Operations of A Rocha Ghana, a Christian Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), told this paper that the six day walk to Accra began on March 17, 2018, to symbolically represent the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which seeks to ‘Ensure availability and sustainable management of Water and Sanitation for all’, and will be climaxed on March 22, 2018, which is the day set aside for the celebration of World Water Day.
According to him, the theme for this year’s World Water Day -Nature for Water, will focus on highlighting the importance of nature-based solutions to address the water challenges in the 21st Century.
Daryl noted that: “The chosen theme hinges on the fact that damaged ecosystems affect affect the quantity and quality of water available for human consumption.