Official Statement: We REJECT Coal Power in Ghana

Dear Volta River Authority (VRA) and Shenzhen Energy Ghana,

With reference to your publication in the Daily Graphic newspaper dated January 8, 2015, page 27, titled ‘Scoping Notice’, we wish you bring to your attention our concerns about the 2x350MW Supercritical Coal Fired-Power Plant as follows:

  1. We first of all acknowledge that the 120 page Scoping Report only sets out and validate the extent of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the project and ascertain the significance of the impact of potential key areas. It is not an ESIA in itself and hence not the absolute document for the justification of the project. However, for the environmental movement in Ghana, it serves as a very important document on the path of rejecting coal power in Ghana and recommend other alternatives to coal;
  1. Within the few weeks of circulating the Scoping Report to different organizations, civil society platforms, environmental coalitions and indeed the media, we came to a shocking conclusion that a greater section of the public and the media were not adequately aware and informed about the project. We therefore call for a number of coordinated public hearings and press conferences to further discuss it and most importantly involve individuals, organizations and institutions that responded to the Scoping Notice you served with phone calls, emails and in writing;
  1. Our major concerns about the project are the environmental pollution and health impacts of the activities leading to construction and operation of the coal fired power plant. Although the ESIA will make a frantic effort to quantify the extent of the related environmental impacts, we are well aware of the devastating health and environmental impacts of coal fired power plants across everywhere on this globe. Coal is a foreign pollutant in this part of the globe and indeed the Scoping Report duly acknowledged that there is limited knowledge of coal power use in this part of the world. But we are very much aware of the high level of fly ash, particulate matter (PM10), smog and other thermal pollution related impacts associated with the operation of coal power plants and hence making judgements based on the experiences of their use and impacts elsewhere is very important;
  1. We are very much aware of the tons of waste- about 5 million tonnes of ash waste (per annum) that would be generated from the plant, the air pollution of poisonous and hazardous gases that are injurious to heath, the discharges into water bodies that threatens aquatic life forms (including turtle breeding grounds close to the project site) and the destruction of the natural environment. While it is important for the ESIA to clearly communicate this for a progressive public debate, we are adequately informed by evidence of coal fired power plants elsewhere that the negative impacts are relentlessly devastating to human life and the environment as well as the irreversible nature of these impacts not only on the environment but also on human life;
  1. The Scoping Report indicated that children in Ekumfi Aboano are 55.9% of the entire population of 1,900 people. Children are very vulnerable especially to air-borne pollutants such as PM10 and smog. We are deeply concerned by the undeniable facts available that point to their health been compromised by the coal fired power plant. Ghana being a member of WHO, UN and other global conventions has a national mandate to protect the health of children and the vulnerable in society including those in Ekumfi Aboano.
  1. While we wait for the ESIA to respond fully and appropriately to each impact that would be outlined in that document, we hereby reject the idea of bringing coal power to Ghana on grounds of devastating health and environmental impacts of coal fired-power plants.
  1. In the interim, we are gathering and collecting signatures of individuals and civil society organizations who also reject coal power in Ghana as a petition to Government to abandon plans of bringing coal to Ghana.
  1. Respectfully submitted.

Cc: EPA, Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology

 

Ghana to Invest in Coal Power Though President is Co-Chair of SDGs

The President of Ghana HE John Dramani Mahama has been appointed together with the Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg as a Co-Chair of a group of sixteen influential global figures to support the UN in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

12493479_1153389144672240_6531394375835466877_o.jpg

The appointment, welcomed by many Ghanaians as a testimony of the country’s apparent commitment to sustainable development, was also received with utmost shock by environmental activists, considering that the sub-Sahara African country has advanced plans to build a coal-fired power plant.

The project named as the 2x350MW Supercritical Coal Fired-Power Plant would commence in August 2016 and see a future expansion to a 2000MW plant in four (4) years with between 1,800,000 and 2,050,000 tons of the dirty fuel being imported from South Africa per year. The project is estimated to cost $US1.5bn with partners from China based Shenzhen Energy Group.

polluted-sunset

The contradiction of the President’s new role and the country’s investment in a coal plant to be situated in Ekumfi Aboano, a village in the Central Region of Ghana with a population of 1,900 of which 55.9% are children (GSS, 2014), lies in the fact that Goals 7 and 13 of the SDGs call for Affordable & Clean Energy and Climate Action respectively.

This seems to present a conundrum to President Mahama in articulating his commitment to the SDGs without addressing his leadership over a project that doesn’t only pose severe environmental and public health risks to vulnerable people and communities but also usurps a global just transition from fossil fuels to clean and renewable energy. Indeed the Ghanaian leader was a vocal figure in supporting climate action at the Conference of Parties (COP21) held last December in Paris under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Earlier this week, the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) with its allies—Ghana Youth Climate Coalition (GYCC), Hipsters of Nature and Green African Youth Organization (GAYO-Ghana), among others called for Government to abandon plans to invest in coal power with an online petition because of the “devastating health, environmental and social impacts the plant will cause to communities housing it”. Activists also indicate that investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure such as coal shows a betrayal and lack of commitment and leadership towards fighting climate change.

Organizers from key youth-led environmental organizations are mobilizing for coordinated nationwide actions that would culminate in a mass anti-coal rally to reject coal in Ghana. Meanwhile, the Volta River Authority (VRA), Government’s lead institution in implementing the project with its Chinese partners Shenzhen Energy Group have made public a 120 page Scoping Report that sets out and validate the extent of the Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the project and ascertain the significance of the impact of potential key areas.

 

HOW TO MAKE A PHONE CALL TO REJECT COAL FIRED POWER PLANT IN GHANA

Hello, do you have a few minutes to spare? Why don’t you make a call to reject coal fired power plant from coming to Ghana. Follow the steps below:

1. Call the offices of the CEO of VRA (0302 664941-9) and Executive Director of EPA (0302 664 697/8) and Deputy Manager of Shenzhen Energy Ghana (0544 343449)

2. Mention your name and organization if you belong to one. (You can also mention Ghana Youth Environmental Movement)

3. Tell them you saw a newspaper publication inviting the public to call them to give their concerns about the coal fired power plant project in Ekumfi.

4. Tell them in a polite manner that you strongly reject and oppose the project on grounds of the devastating health, social and environmental impacts it will cause.

5. Finally tell them that your position would be put into writing and sent to their email and postal address by the closing date of January 31, 2016 as stated in the publication

6. Don’t forget to RECORD the call. You can email it to us if you can at gyemgh@gmail.com

Thank you.

Summary: Scoping Report of Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA): Supercritical 2x350MW Coal Fired-Power Plant

The Government of Ghana has advanced plans to build a 700MW coal fired power plant in the country to be commenced in 2016. In the light of this, leading institutions for the project have released a 120 page Scoping Report of the Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA). Below we have summarized and simplified the report in 5 points:

smokestack

  1. The project is called the 2x350MW Supercritical Coal-Fired Power Plant. It is planned to commence in August 2016, commission commercial operation in 2019/2020 and estimated to cost $US1.5bn. Coal would be imported from South Africa, a quantity of 1,800,000 to 2,050,000 tons per year. Back up coal sources would be considered from Columbia.
  2. The project has two (2) phases and would see a future expansion to 2000MW coal-fired power plant. Phase 1 is 2x350MW and phase 2 would see the development of either 4x350MW or 2x600MW plant.
  3. It is been developed by Shenzhen Energy Group Co. Ltd (SEG), based in China with offices in Ghana and the Volta River Authority (VRA).
  4. The site chosen for the project is Ekumfi Aboano, a fishing community in the Ekumfi District of the Central Region. It is located 78km west of Accra, 50km east of Cape Coast and 0.6km away from an adjacent village. The district has a population of 52,000, out of which 1,900 people live in Aboano. The population of children at the project site is a staggering 55.9%. (Figures by Ghana Statistical Service, 2014)
  5. An Environmental & Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) is required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the project prior to it’s commencement. However, the 120 page Scoping Report sets out and validate the extent of the ESIA and ascertain the significance of the impact of potential key areas.

>>>>PRESS RELEASE>>>> WORLD WATER DAY 2015


#World Water Day: Ghana Needs To Act Fast and Wisely

Galamsey
Sunday March 22 is World Water Day and the World is preparing to celebrate this day in Unity. Since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as “World Day for Water”, several nations have made efforts to undertake various reasonable activities to protect water as life of its people.

In Ghana, not much can be said of conscious efforts the people and government are making to protect and preserve water which remains at the core of every country’s socio-economic and sustainable development.

In spite of recent government interventions that have seen areas like Adenta, East Legon, Ashaley Botwe, Haatso and Dodowa, all in the Great Accra region have water running through their pipes after several years of ‘drought’, the issue of intermittent supply, high water losses and low water pressure remains a challenge to the country.

While efforts are being made to tackle these challenges one step at a time, the Ghanaian populace continues to inflict itself with unintelligible acts such as fishing with poisonous chemicals including DDT, illegal mining popularly known as galamsey and disposing liquid waste directly into the sea. These practices among others pose deep threat to the country’s sustainable development.

According to the January 1992 Dublin Statement on Water and Sustainable Development, “Scarcity and misuse of fresh water pose a serious and growing threat to sustainable development and protection of the environment. Human health and welfare, food security, industrial development and the ecosystems on which they depend, are all at risk, unless water and land resources are managed more effectively in the present decade and beyond what they have been in the past.”

In view of this, what the document proposed among other things was that water be viewed as an economic good because it has economic value. It also stated that Water development and management should be based on a participatory approach, involving users, planners and policy-makers at all levels. The document further noted that fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource, essential to sustain life, development and the environment.

In relating the vital information provided by the document to Ghana’s local situation, it appears the nation is headed for dangerous times.

There is no doubt that Ghana is well endowed with water resources. The Volta river system basin, consisting of the Oti, Daka, Pru, Sene and Afram rivers as well as the white and black Volta rivers, covers about 70% of the country area. Another 22% of Ghana is covered by the southwestern river system watershed comprising the Bia, Tano, Ankobra and Pra rivers.

Management of these resources have been a different issue altogether. A recent hard-hitting video report (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j6qaiPSbZsQ) by journalist and movie producer Edem Srem that exposed misleading claims by the government in Ghana to have eradicated the risky practice of alluvial gold mining popularly known as gallamsey; a practice that greatly polluted most of Ghana’s major water bodies is one act that reveals the actual happening on the ground.

Authorities in Ghana are slowly losing grips of the fresh water system. It is alarming the level of pollution ongoing on some of the major rivers in the country that serve as the sole source of water for domestic use in most communities.

The happenings although have received several explanations and details about the modus operandi of polluters, speculations of some government ‘big names’ okaying and supporting the act, there is no need for denial or confirmation but positive action. Positive action to safeguard Ghana’s water resources and ensure the health of Ghanaians is not compromised, the occupation of fisher folks is not jeopardized and the aquatic ecosystem disharmonized.

“Water is a finite and irreplaceable resource that is fundamental to human well-being. It is only renewable if well managed.”
The current trend of water pollution is estimated to see two-thirds of the world’s population living in water-stressed countries by 2025.

Water can pose a serious challenge to sustainable development but managed efficiently and equitably, water can play a key enabling role in strengthening the resilience of social, economic and environmental systems in the light of rapid and unpredictable changes.

Happy World Water Day!

Communications Team, GYEM
0262 121225
0541 688 618

Cc: Ministry of Environment, Science & Technology
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
Ministry of Water Resources, Works & Housing
Ministry of Local Government
All Media Houses

POWER SHIFT 2014 – EVENT SUMMARY AND POST POWER SHIFT AGENDA

DAY 1 – July 26, 2014

Session 1:
Presentations

2 main presenters delivered presentations during the first session; namely Ahmed Prosper Amuquandoh (Smart & Green Energy Group) and Mr. Kwabena Osei (Sustain Ghana). The 2 presenters addressed issues under the following areas:

 Renewable Energy policy, technology and financing
 SMART Grid solution for Energy sector
 Energy Efficiency & Regulation, Management and Sustainability
 Renewable Energy & Innovation – solar powered water system in development
across the world and solar powered train system under research by Sustain Ghana
 Energy Governance, Leadership and Management by Government of Ghana
 Research and Development – solar and wind technology in Ghana

Session 2:
Discussion/Colloquium

4 Power Shift mentors – Akua Akyaa Nkrumah (Green Ghanaian Initiative), Talal Sangari (Clean Up Ghana), Richard Dablah (Renewable Green Energy), Kwame Ofori (Ako Foundation) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Issues raised and discussed covered the following areas:

 Municipal Waste Management and Local Government Regulations
 Green Technology and Innovation- recycling (plastics & papers), reuse and
redesign
 Waste separation and Waste-to-Energy Technology
 Solutions for Sanitation and Littering in cities and suburbs
 Pollution from plastics and e-waste in Agbogbloshie
 Environmental education, advocacy and activism by young people

Session 3:
Interview with Power Shift Celebrities

Nana Asaase (Asaase Inscriptions) – poet, performer and environmentalist, on his journey as a creative artist and using the arts to raise environmental awareness and action; and
John Apea – actor, policy analyst, communication strategist & PR consultant on his personal life, environmentalism, business and sustainability.

Session 4
Colloquium/Q&A

Power Shift Mentors – Qwophi Opare (Climate Watch Ghana), Abdullah Hamza (AgroIntroductions Ghana), Alfred Wadee (Centre for Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation- CREEI), Chibeze Ezekiel (Strategic Network for Development), Domenyo Galley (Cornerstone Media), Beatrice Awu Dossah (Hipsters of Nature), Alfred Godwin Adjabeng (Reach out to Future Leaders Movement- ROFLM), Kassim Gawusu (Greener Impact Int./African Youth Initiative on Climate Change –AYICC), PP Hammond (NYCOB Enterprise Consortium), Energy Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Issues raised, discussed and addressed included:

 Climate change policy, adaptation and mitigation
 Renewable energy, low carbon economies and strategies
 Green Jobs
 Achimota Eco-Park & Aburi Forest Reserve
 Death of whales in the Western Region and Environmental Impact Assessment by
EPA
 Biodiversity and Natural Capital
 Youth leadership, lobbying and accessing government funding and budget for
green projects
 The role and commitment of Power Shift mentors towards achieving the goals of
the summit

Session 5
Presentations – Origins Solar Company and Climate Reality Project

Origin Solar revealed how the company aims to supply high quality solar products in developing countries including Ghana and offer solutions to their shortages of reliable energy needs with affordable and cheap solar products.

The Climate Reality presentation by Gideon Commey explained global warming, the science of climate change, the dangers, impacts, effects and the solutions.

SIDE EVENTS
 Exhibition by Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMSP) QAMP
 Live online panel interviews by JT Live Radio

DAY 2 – July 27, 2014

Evening Session: Exponential – Multiplying Servant Leaders

Exponential was a special event that featured some selected change makers and trail blazers in Ghana who are shifting power through service to their communities. The young change makers were:

 Sara Nana Yeboah ( Sangy Nursing Services & Sandy Foundation)
 Christabel Ofori (IHAV Foundation)
 Vanessa Kavi (Support A Life Today – S.A.L.T / YALDA Ghana
 ISWEST
 Emmanuel Sampson
 Ebenezer Nanabanyin Harrison (TEFAC- Ghana)

DAY 3 – July 28, 2014

Flash Mob Dance

A flash mob dance was hosted on Osu Oxford Street, infront of Shoprite Shooping Mall to bring Power Shift to an end. The dance was led by children and young people from OrphanAid Africa.

AGENDA – POST POWER SHIFT 2014

5 Thematic Areas for Action:

1. Climate Change
2. Biodiversity & Natural Capital
3. Green Technology (Recycling & Redesign)
4. Renewable Energy (Solar Investment & Entrepreneurship)
5. Youth Policy & Lobby Group

Climate Change
A Power Shift Action group would be created on Facebook for participants to update the group on the actions they are taking in their communities. An action could range from clean ups, tree planting exercises, to a campaign against coal or to promote solar energy in communities. Tools would be made available to support young people.

Biodiversity & Natural Capital
The Power Shift team will consult with the Mentor from NYCOB Enterprise Consortium on action based activities

Green Technology (Recycling & Redesign)
The team will consult with The Green Ghanaian Initiative and share action based activities with the group

Renewable Energy (Solar Investment & Entrepreneurship)
Promotion of solar energy and creating employment for young people through partnerships with Origins Solar and Centre for Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship and Innovation (CREEI)

Youth Policy & Lobby Group
This will be achieved in discussions with Mentors and the organizations they represent.

PRESS RELEASE (For Immediate Release!!!) Okyeame Kwame to Address Youth at Power Shift Environmental and Climate Summit

Hiplife Guru, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur, Okyeame Kwame will address hundreds of young people at the largest and first ever youth-led climate and environmental summit in Ghana dubbed ‘Power Shift Ghana 2014’.

Final poster

The 3 day summit of over 500 young people, hosted by the Ghana Youth Environmental Movement (GYEM) with partnership from the Ghana Youth Climate Coalition (GYCC) will be held at the Central Cafeteria of the University of Ghana from July 26 – 28, 2014, under the theme ‘Leadership, Innovation & ACTION’.

The purpose of this mammoth gathering of environmental activists and climate champions across Ghana, according to Michael Nyarko Acheampong, Team Leader for Power Shift Ghana Summit, is to have young people across the country discuss, learn and share innovative solutions to the environmental crisis in Ghana.

He indicated that, “it is time to set and shift priorities from the bottom to the top, at all levels of society, from policies to implementation. To encourage, equip and empower our movement with tools, techniques and technology to shift power and help solve the environmental crisis in Ghana”.

The areas to be covered on the first day of the summit include Climate & Environmental Policy, Sanitation & Waste Management, Green Technology, Renewable Energy & Organizing and Campaigning. Experts and technocrats will answer questions posed by young people, while technologists and innovators will share their experiences.

The second day of Power Shift will see the hosting of a special evening event for change makers dubbed ‘Exponential’, which will put the spotlight on servant leaders and trail blazers in Ghana doing amazing things in their communities.

The summit will then be crowned with a Flash Mob Dance on the Osu Oxford Street on Monday July 28 to make the presence of the youth environmental movement felt to the outside world. Other notable speakers for Power Shift Ghana 2014 include media mogul, and ace tv and radio personality Jay Foley, extraordinary poet and performer Nana Asaase, and actor and vegetarian activist Zimran Clottey (Great Aluta) of the Edenic Youth Organization (EYO).

You can find more of Power Shift Ghana 2014 from >>www.gyemgh.wordpress.com>> and >> http://www.facebook.com/powershiftgh >> or contact:

The Campaigns Team
Ghana Youth Environmental Movement
233-572-127-993
233-246-760-399
233-244-951-828
gyemgh@gmail.com