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Newsletter:

Stop the pollution of the River Pra!

Ghana

Pollution caused by gold mining in Ghana

Locatie

The pollution of the River Pra results in major health problems in the community. Humanity Action Group from Ghana fights the gold mining company causing this.

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Het Actiefonds supports Humanity Action Group from Ghana in their fight against the pollution of River Pra and the destruction of the Atewa Forest Reserve caused by a gold mining company in the Volta region.

 

Action

Health hazard

In 2009, a new goldmine was discovered nearby the Pra River. In the years that followed, intensive mining resulted in the river being poisoned with heavy metals. This contamination changed the vibrant, clear blue colour of the river into a muddy, clouded version. As the Pra River provides thousands of villagers their daily water supply, the pollution causes major health problems in the community. Mainly mercury, a heavy metal used in gold mining, is toxic once ingested through food or water. Mercury is considered to be one of the environmental pollutants with the greatest impact on the biosphere and human health. Inhabitants from surrounding villages have to walk for miles to get clean water in another river.

Besides the direct health hazard from drinking the polluted water, the soil is becoming less fertile and several households have lost livestock.

Corruption

Ten years ago, the Ghana parliament already demanded to close the mine because pollution led to the death of several villagers. A government investigation in 2013 stated that the water was not poisoned after all, but communities around the North Pra Gold Mine say that this false outcome was the result of corruption. Humanity Action Group demands a second investigation from impartial authorities into the exploitation of the goldmine, including the negative consequences for food and water supplies, and the damaged environment of the Atewa Forest Reserve.

On top of the environmental damage and health risks, there have been several reported cases of sexual abuse of female mining workers by management personnel. The action group urges the government to investigate the alleged violations of human and labour rights by the mining company.

Time for action

In order to conduct drastic change in this dangerous situation, Humanity Action Group is organising several direct actions in the Volta Region. The ultimate goal will be the closing of the North Pra Goldmine. To accomplish this, there will be a street walk, a demonstration at the Pra –Volta Rural Constituency Office and a blockade of the North Pra Mining office.  The direct actions are expected to be attended by hundreds of villagers from the surrounding communities.

Prior to the protest Humanity Action Group will organise campaigns to mobilise the public, carry out information sessions and educate community members to raise awareness on these threatening living conditions.