Government has been asked to remove Atewa Forest Reserve from the list of places targeted for bauxite mining to ensure that Ghanaians consume uncontaminated food and water.
The Coalition of Students in Conservation (COSIC), which made the call, said the Atewa forest is one of the important water sources in the country, providing over 5 million people in Greater Accra Region, Eastern Region and some parts of the Central Region with drinking water.
Addressing a news conference in Kumasi, Judicial Chairman of COSIC, Francis Kpatakpa, indicated that rivers such as Densu, Ayensu and Birim all take their source from the Atewa Forest Reserve.
According to him, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) predicted a major water crisis by 2030 in the country.
This should motivate all Ghanaians to contribute to securing fresh water sources in order to avert danger.
Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia in July, this year announced a partnership agreement in which the Government of China would offer Ghana $15 billion in exchange of bauxite resources, with Atewa Forest being one of the areas under consideration.
But the Coalition of Students in Conservation believes the risk outweighs the benefits to be derived in the barter trade agreement, calling on government not to create any conditions that may threaten the existence of the present and future generations.
“We appreciate the efforts by government to raise the needed funds to address the developmental needs of our people, but must be cautious,” the students' coalition said.
Mr Kpatakpa appealed to President Akufo-Addo to use his executive powers to declare Atewa forest a national park, asserting that this would provide some level of security and stability for the implementation of sustainable activities.
From Ernest Kofi Adu, Kumasi