The Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) has marched to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Accra to demand an end to plans to build a coal power plant in the country.
The group has been campaigning for months to force government to abandon its proposal to increase the country’s power production capacity with a coal plant in the Central Region.
The Volta River Authority and Shenzhen Energy Group have plans to start the construction of a 2x350 megawatt coal fired power plant in April 2017. The construction was initially scheduled to begin in August 2016.
The group believes the plan will generate about 5 million tonnes of ash waste (per annum) that will lead to air pollution from poisonous and hazardous gases that are injurious to health, threats to turtle breeding grounds close to the site and the destruction of the natural environment.
According to the group, the assertion from government that the plant will be running on “clean coal” technology is a myth perpetuated by the coal industry to save a resource that is increasingly losing popularity and are rather calling for the utilisation of alternative energy sources such as solar and wind power.
They cited recent examples in Germany and Portugal where both countries run completely on renewable energy for days.
A petition was received by the EPA and the group says it will “continue to urge the EPA to be firm on its mandate and responsibility to protect the environment without compromising on the health of the people of Ghana and the integrity of our ecosystems.”
World Environment Day (instituted in 1974) is the United Nations’ designated day for the observance of positive environmental action. This year’s theme was; “Go Wild for Life” in a bid to stamp out the illegal wildlife trade.