Some environmental activists this morning staged a protest at vantage points within the Achimota forest reserve to express their rejection of the de-classification of parts of the Achimota forest by government. The Executive Instrument, which was passed in May 2022, has rezoned parts of Achimota Forest, thereby removing the reserve protection of portions of the only remaining green space of significance in the city of Accra. This, the environmental activists have rejected and are calling on government to urgently reverse that decision, hence the protest. Some of the placards read “Achimota forest for a green future, Green Ghana means saving Achimota forest, stop the double standard, save our forest, Rezoning Achimota forest is not prudent, Make Achimota forest whole again and Give us back our forest among others”.
Even before embarking on the protest, the activists have strategically used the various social media tools this morning to drum home their message and were trending on twitter using #SaveAchimotaForest. As part of the protest however, they distributed seedlings to support the Green Ghana Day and this was carried out by representatives of a number of environmental groups, including A Rocha Ghana (ARG), Eco-Conscious Citizens, Green Butterfly, Youth Alliance for Green (YAGG), Sustainable Youth Network for Development Ghana (SYND), Sustainability Week and Ghana Youth Environment Movement (GYEM. A statement by the group said, “In addition to encouraging citizens to join in the Government's tree-planting initiative which aims to plant 20 million trees, the environmentalists will be advocating for the revocation of President Nana Akufo-Addo's Executive Instrument EI 144”. It said, at a time when Accra needs the “lungs of Accra” because of its poor air quality, the group sees no rationale for decreasing the city's forest cover. “Greening Ghana must prioritise securing Achimota Forest in its entirety. We therefore want the President to revoke Executive Instrument 144, as it is inconsistent with the tenets of Green Ghana,” says the coalition. “Additionally, we want the Government to ensure that while we plant trees, we equally prioritise the protection of existing forests in the country.” The coalition goes on to say that “it is cheaper, prudent and ecologically better to take steps, as a state, to secure existing lush green forest reserves like Atewa Forest and green spaces like the Achimota Forest.”
It further calls upon Ghanaians, including the musician Stonebwoy, who fronted a Government publicity drive for Green Ghana Day, to join in the call for the revocation of the President's Executive Instrument that has reduced the Achimota Forest Reserve. “The report on the outcome of today's activities will be on the agenda of Eco-Conscious Citizens' Monthly Zoom Meeting on June 30. The agenda includes a presentation by financial adviser Dela Wosornu on the use of carbon sink to monetise our forests”, the statement added.