A Rocha Ghana and Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape (CCLA), both non-governmental organisations (NGOs), have urged the government to designate the Atewa Forest Reserve as a national park, to generate additional income for the country.
The NGOs asked the government to review its stance of allowing mining in the Atewa Forest, considering its importance to the livelihood of humans and biodiversity.
Mr Oteng Adjei, the Public Relations Officer, CCAL, made the call at a press conference on Friday in Accra.
Themed, ‘Inclusive governance and management: Panacea to achieving sustainable water resource management in Ghana’, the event served as a platform to discuss nature-based solutions to water challenges in the country.
Mr Adjei said that Atewa Forest is the source of three rivers, Densu, Ayensu and Birim, and there was the need to protect the reserve from any activity that could put these rivers at risk.
He asked thegovernment to consider the environmental impact above temporary economic conditions, regarding mining in the forest reserve.
Mr Adjei noted that activities in forest reserves in the Eastern and Western regions of the country, were creating serious environmental problems.
He said it was difficult to deal with miners because they operated in thick forest reserves.
Mr Adjei cautioned government against allocating forest reserves for mining activities, because it contributed to the depletion of Ghana’s forest cover.
“We must relinquish the stranglehold on the Atewa Forest and allow for development partners waiting anxiously to turn the reserve into an eco-tourism attraction that will rake in the quantum of money the government is claiming bauxite mining will bring and even bring more in a sustainable way,” he said.
By Benedicta Gyima-Folley