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Feature Article of Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

Ghana's Natural Heritage: Protect Remainder!

By Kofi Thompson

Recently, one of the Chiefs in Akyem Abuakwa threatened to set fire to the equipment of illegal gold miners who were apparently dredging a section of the Birim River in their search for gold.

The harm being done to the fragile ecology of Akyem Abuakwa by illegal gold miners, loggers and hunters is on an almost apocalyptic scale.

It is time Ghanaian society woke up to the environmental armageddon that looms countrywide - as the wanton destruction of vast swathes of the Ghanaian countryside by illegal surface gold miners and loggers results in habitat loss for many species of our flora and fauna.

Of particular concern is the threat posed to the delicate ecology of the Atewa Range upland evergreen rainforest - a designated Globally Significant Biodiversity Area (GSBA), which provides vital eco-systems services.

The headwaters of the three major river systems on which much of southern urban Ghana depends for its drinking-water supply - the Birim, the Densu and the Pra - take their source from there, and must be protected at all costs.

Desperate times call for desperate measures sometimes. Private citizens driven by unfathomable greed and the lust for gold, must not be allowed to hold Ghanaian society to ransom with such impunity.

If nothing is done to halt hunting, illegal gold mining and logging in Atewa, a day will come when -like Sekondi and Takoradi today - treated water might become a rarity in many cities, towns and villages in parts of southern Ghana, including the nation's capital of Accra.

Our educated urban elites must get off the fence - and start taking an active interest in environmental issues: if they want their children and children's children to continue enjoying a relatively good quality of life tomorrow.

What is left of Ghana's natural heritage needs protecting today. We must act before it becomes too late. A word to the wise...

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.

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