World Wide Waste with Gerry McGovern

Perk Pomeyie 'How bauxite mining destroys nature and communities'

John Carter
March 21, 2023
40
 MIN
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Perk Pomeyie 'How bauxite mining destroys nature and communities'

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Perk Pomeyie is a Ghanaian environmental activist from Accra, who is currently theNational Coordinator oftheGhana Youth Environmental Movement-a leadingyouth-ledenvironment and climate advocacy and campaign group in Ghana.Istarted by asking Perk to tell me more about how the youth movement works.

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Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] Gerry McGovern: Perk Palm is a Ghanaian environmental activist from Accra, who is currently the national coordinator of the Ghana Ute Environmental Movement, a leading Ute led environment and climate advocacy and campaign group in Ghana. I started by asking PERK to tell me more about how the Ute movement.

[00:00:29] Perk Pomeyie: So we are, uh, leading with later environmental policy, advocacy and non-violence campaign group in Ghana.

[00:00:36] Perk Pomeyie: So we, um, work by mobilizing young people within our community, uh, to take action and also to solve environmental issues. Within their community and also participate, um, in the national deficient making processes on the issues of climate change and other environmental actions in the country. So, um, [00:01:00] we also, um, as a youth movement, we identify as a mood, as a movement because we draw inspiration from, um, social courses.

[00:01:10] Perk Pomeyie: Social groups from the past that have been able to, uh, lead and take actions that have contributed to the transformational change of society that we currently live in. So we draw inspiration from these, um, social movement and also are learning from them some of the actions and the tools that they used to be able to achieve the, uh, systemic changes that they were able.

[00:01:40] Perk Pomeyie: Achieve. So we, we do this by, um, mobilizing young people by engaging in activities such as campaigns, using tools like Nonviolent Direct Action. Uh, we also conduct, um, researchers. We also engage in policy advocacy in some of our [00:02:00] projects. And activit also take. Community based project implementation. So, um, we, uh, as a youth movement, yes, we work with young people between the ages of 15 to 35 because we believe, uh, this is a critical age group and as a age group that, um, experiences most of the impact.

[00:02:22] Perk Pomeyie: Of the environmental crisis that we have in our age and also, um, whatever deficient means we made today is going to affect or impact our lives. So there's a need for young people to get involved and, uh, we also look for commitment and availability amongst young people and work with. Uh, those we recruit by supporting them with skills and, uh, network opportunities and, uh, training opportunities to build, to build their capacity to able to work effectively in the area of their interests in the environment.

[00:02:57] Gerry McGovern: Fantastic. Um, um, [00:03:00] really important, uh, work. Um, tell me something perk, um, about the natural beauty and the nature of of Ghana. Ghana.

[00:03:11] Perk Pomeyie: Um, it's a country known to have quite, uh, it's rich in biodiversity. You looking at. Our landscape, which, uh, is a bit diverse. We have the rainforest, we have the Savannah, we have the coastal community.

[00:03:28] Perk Pomeyie: So there's a beautiful diversity when it comes to environmental, or let me say environmental landscape. And, um, due to that, we have some of our key tourist attractions that are designed around the natural environment like the coco. Park like the Mullin National Park and other, um, park or tourist sites.

[00:03:54] Perk Pomeyie: So looking at the environmental escapee in Ghana, it's really beautiful and diverse with, with the flower and [00:04:00] fauna of the country. And also, um, in the tour forest range like this, we have, um, We've identified certain key species that are not even available in other parts of the world. So this is how the beautiful environmental landscape that we have in the country, the

[00:04:17] Gerry McGovern: greatest source of aluminum is found in a soft rock called bide, generally red and called color due to its.

[00:04:27] Gerry McGovern: Iron ore content bide is a fruit of tropical forests. A hot and wet tropical climate sets the perfect conditions for bide formation, which requires a prolonged period of high temperatures and heavy rainfall. This tropical weathering also produces a wide variety of chemistry and oral meteorology. Oxide does vary substantially in composition depending on the region.

[00:04:59] Gerry McGovern: It is [00:05:00] found containing minerals and materials such as quartz, hermite, magnetite, cite, and Tite. Several toxic and heavy metalists, such as arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, titanium, vanadium, or mercury occur in bide. Bide is a very soft rock that reifies and turns to a fine dust easily. I asked perk, how has bide mining impacted the natural beauty of Ghana?

[00:05:37] Perk Pomeyie: Bide mining, uh, we know is strip mining, so, um, the process of mining is, is very distracting to the environment cause you have to strip off the top soil and also means stripping off the. Natural habitat, the natural vegetation stripping of, um, biodiversity or wildlife habitat from the top soil to be able to get access to both [00:06:00] sites, which is the raw, um, material.

[00:06:02] Perk Pomeyie: And this is very distracting and devastating because then, You would have to destroy what you have on top of the land, able to get access to the mineral house below the top soil. And um, this also leaves the vegetation or the very rich winfred vegetation, very dry cause then, uh, once you clear the top soil, you are losing this.

[00:06:25] Perk Pomeyie: Naturally built ecosystem, which you cannot replace after straight mining. And um, this also leaves the land very bare. So a bare land, uh, is prone to, uh, issues like, um, Droughts. Uh, you have issues like um, um, land top cell cracks. Uh, also, um, in some areas you have issues of dust production. You have a lot of dust particle, so dust being pro produced cause the land is bare, uh, it is dry is patched and also it [00:07:00] becomes un unfair and it comes unuseful to to humanity.

[00:07:03] Perk Pomeyie: So these are how the impact it has on the land itself and also definitely. Once it has an impact on the land, it's going to have an impact on the livelihoods of the people living within those communities, or people who livelihood, depend on, um, the, the natural, uh, ecosystem or the natural resources that are on the top soil that's, uh, on the land

[00:07:30] Gerry McGovern: and what sort of area.

[00:07:32] Gerry McGovern: Are we talking about perk? H How much land are, are we talking about? Um, from an area point of view. So,

[00:07:41] Perk Pomeyie: uh, I can't give that figures, but I'm looking at some of the existing, um, mining boxer, mining side that we have in the, in the country, like him and, um, our, so those are very big land landscapes. Um, probably measured in hectares [00:08:00] and um, looking.

[00:08:01] Perk Pomeyie: Drone footages or images of the bide, the assistant bide mine site, you could see that is very destructive. A whole part of land looking very red or brownish. And, um, you, it is, it's clear. It's very clear that, um, this. Part of land that has been destroyed, cannot sustain, uh, any type of, um, life. You cannot sustain life.

[00:08:31] Perk Pomeyie: You cannot sustain plant life. Cannot sustain animal life. Cause he's been destroyed. He's been, he's been left by an uh, On unproductive. So talking about sites, I can give figures, but, uh, from the current or existing box site site is very huge and we don't want to see that happen in, uh, the, a forest range.

[00:08:55] Perk Pomeyie: Also because the forest range, um, place a critical role [00:09:00] with our water resources. The, the, the, the forest sources, three main rivers. Which provide water to over 5 million Ghanaians. So the strain, the forest also means you have the strain, the source of water to uh, this number of Ghanaians and you water is very important.

[00:09:19] Perk Pomeyie: And also in the country where we are already facing water challenges, Ghana Water Company, which is a states institution, is already rationing water. So, Bide mine in the tour forest is going to have devastating impact on the forest and also livelihoods that are not even within the forestry and beyond the forest range, and also as a country

[00:09:40] Gerry McGovern: as a whole, just in relation to water.

[00:09:43] Gerry McGovern: The bide mine itself. Uses a lot of water, doesn't it? In, in the mining process?

[00:09:50] Perk Pomeyie: Absolutely. It, it does use resist water in its process in mining and refining and also processing the raw material out. So once it's out, you may how to [00:10:00] wash it, just like how, um, in other mining process you have to be able to extract the mineral from, from, uh, the whole, uh, other unwanted material that you, you.

[00:10:13] Perk Pomeyie: You get from digging out the minerals.

[00:10:16] Gerry McGovern: Are there areas in Ghana where the mining companies have left, so to speak, from the box side and, and, and, and if there are, they've basically left behind a desert. Have they? They, what's left behind? They don't. Repair it or they don't make it, they don't make it fertile again,

[00:10:35] Perk Pomeyie: from the current sites are left bare.

[00:10:38] Perk Pomeyie: The the lands are left. Just they, they are not, um, regenerated. So the land are left bare and they just produce, uh, red dust, which then pollutes a community and leaves people's property and, uh, leaves other. Infrastructures within the community, within the range which the forest is taking [00:11:00] place, quoted with red dust, which has other serious health implications and also implications of people's livelihood and also on infrastructure and.

[00:11:11] Perk Pomeyie: And, um, other experts or other life, other experts of the lives of people living within their community.

[00:11:18] Gerry McGovern: Tell us more perk about the red dust and its, its impacts, you know, and how far, uh, it can go and travel. Uh, uh, throughout Ghana.

[00:11:30] Perk Pomeyie: Red can travel far cause. Even considering the huge tracks that move the, the, the, the material from the raw material, from the mining sites all the way to, um, where they are kept, they're stored, they're processed, or even if exported, um, you, you can see that they leave particles on the trail.

[00:11:56] Perk Pomeyie: So then the communities, the [00:12:00] process, communities to the line sites are always covered in. They, they, they, they are, they are heavy tracks, always plowing the road and leaving traces of red dusts particles within the community. Cause they always drive through the C communities to get out these, uh, raw material.

[00:12:15] Perk Pomeyie: And, um, you find red dusts covering the other part of the vegetation thats have not been, um, mine yet. So then, um, you have read. Coats on plants. And this also hinders plants and plant growth in, in, in, in the forest scapes. Cause then you have red dust covering almost everything and also allowing the plants and the natural vegetation there to grow, uh, properly or efficiently.

[00:12:45] Perk Pomeyie: You also have read us cover infrastructure. So people's homes are always flooded. Red dust people's, uh, businesses are always flooded. Rest. And so this also. Has an impact on your ability to, uh, keep to [00:13:00] the Hy Hygiene or hygienic practices in terms of keeping your home very clean and needs always offices where you do your business, even with.

[00:13:09] Perk Pomeyie: Um, living within your own homes, you have red earth particles always in the atmosphere. So, which also means that you get to consume this even in your daily lives, apart from inhaling them. Whenever you open your mouth is something you have red earth in the particles, which may not even be visible to your own.

[00:13:28] Perk Pomeyie: Uh, aye. So then, um, the impact or the diversity part of red is quite abroad, not just within the communities that are closely, uh, or pro very close to the mining side, but also along the trails and the road networks by these raw materials are taken out of the mining sites. So

[00:13:51] Gerry McGovern: we're talking about impacts around hundreds of kilometers.

[00:13:55] Gerry McGovern: Away from the actual minds themselves. Absolutely. And [00:14:00] tell us perk a little bit about the, the impact of the red dust or other, uh, toxic elements on the actual health of people and animals. Uh, Either close to the mine or, or, or on the roads where the trucks are traveling. Tell us, you know, are there increases in diseases or respiratory diseases among, among, uh, the, the people and among the animals, uh, in the

[00:14:28] Perk Pomeyie: areas red dust.

[00:14:30] Perk Pomeyie: Um, I also once, um, affects air quality. So then, um, air pollution is, Consistent and rampant in such communities. And, um, with dust particles filling the air space for the community members. And those living, uh, around or on the ridge of the tracks, the exports tracks to transport tracks. Uh, it [00:15:00] raises issues of trans, um, respiratory concerns, like, um, having to be exposed.

[00:15:08] Perk Pomeyie: Uh, other disease like, um, Qatar, which, which, uh, in other ways are called flu in the, in the west or in Europe. But here it's, it's very devastating. Cause then you have your running nose, it counts with migraine headaches, which, uh, Causes health, health concerns also to people living within the communities and also to animals.

[00:15:32] Perk Pomeyie: Um, yes, once it affects the air quality is also going to affect, um, the air quality that animals within the forest range or the mining sites. Uh, breathe in. And also for habitats that live below the top soil, like some rods that help with, um, soil, soil ration with air going into the soil, and also with, uh, [00:16:00] other rods that help with soil network can also help with the.

[00:16:03] Perk Pomeyie: Growth of trees in terms of their root network. This top soil mining then has effect on this type of biodiversity that are found within this, um, mining surgeon also, um, with the issue of, um, um, animals. Then once, once the habitat of animals are destroyed, then they have to then look. Um, other places to, to call their home.

[00:16:30] Perk Pomeyie: Then you now have some wild animals from the forest cape or, uh, catchment moving into the homes of people like snakes and other poisoners, um, animals that are supposed to be left or are supposed to have the habitat in the forest. Now moving into the homes of people because they live close to some of these mining sites.

[00:16:56] Perk Pomeyie: And

[00:16:57] Gerry McGovern: just to, for listeners, [00:17:00] uh, to, uh, the podcast, you know, the, the bide, the best place to get bide is in tropical forests. So, uh, where, where their mining perk is in the most biodiverse places on earth. The most, the, the, the Amazon, they, they do box like mining in the Amazon, in Brazil as well. So, so, These places are some of the best places in the world for biodiversity, aren't they?

[00:17:30] Gerry McGovern: Yes,

[00:17:31] Perk Pomeyie: yes they are. Like, um, we currently have, in the case of the Ewa forest, it's, it's very rich and, um, biodiversity. And also, um, because of his richness in biodiversity, it has been, um, Said to be, uh, part diversity rich area and has been noted to, um, contribute, sorry. Yes. Noted to contribute to [00:18:00] the, um, rich, um, how do I call it?

[00:18:04] Perk Pomeyie: Ecosystem that we have in, uh, within the forest capes in the country. So, um, as part of our campaigns, I, I thought of the actions that CSOs and other u uh, groups are running is to protect. The forest range or the escape cause one, a tour, uh, forest Range makes one third of the 20% of the forest escape that we have in the country.

[00:18:30] Perk Pomeyie: And, um, it's important for us to put it the forest escape and convert it into a national PA where, uh, um, scientists, it could serve as a hub for scientists to study the rich biodiversity that we have in the l. Joseph said as a natural place for fun games, for touring and also for other, um, purposes. And also even protecting and having, protecting and, uh, nurturing some indigenous [00:19:00] and, uh, some indigenous plant species that are found within the forest.

[00:19:05] Perk Pomeyie: Um, l.

[00:19:07] Gerry McGovern: So, so this is the alternative you are presenting that, um, if we pres protect, um, biodiversity, there can be, uh, jobs in, in tourism or in research or, um, other, other areas. There are, there are alternative solutions. That's what

[00:19:28] Perk Pomeyie: you're saying. Absolutely there are alternative solutions to, um, to development.

[00:19:34] Perk Pomeyie: And we don't, we don't need to destroy the forest cover to able to develop in terms of infrastructure wise where, uh, having a better deal to, to, to, to mind box certain, a forest and also. To develop a country, like build, um, hospitals have good road networks and that the country can still generate that amount of money that it needs sustainably [00:20:00] to develop.

[00:20:01] Perk Pomeyie: So here we are, health government to consider green development rather than, um, other destructive ways of developing a country.

[00:20:10] Gerry McGovern: You've mentioned a little bit about local communities, because often the argument is that, uh, this, the mining brings jobs, but could, you know, give us a, per an overall perspective of the positives and the negatives, so to speak, are the, the true impacts on the local communities?

[00:20:31] Gerry McGovern: Yes. Are they happy with the bide mining because it's bringing jobs or what is the, what is the true perspective of the impact on the local communities?

[00:20:42] Perk Pomeyie: I, I would say that most of our laws do not, uh, favor the locals or indigenous people. Living within these communities is most often favors the investors.

[00:20:53] Perk Pomeyie: So in terms of, yeah, that the narrative out there is going to create jobs. Transform the lives, but [00:21:00] you don't see that reflecting or happening the lives of those living, the community. Uh, a case scenario could is, um, these mining companies then come, they come into the community, they set up, they hire the people.

[00:21:14] Perk Pomeyie: They, they, they employ people beyond the community and even, most often don't even, uh, have a good percentage of. Local, international, uh, employees ratios. So then you have people, you have these companies bringing in their own people from outside the country to come work. Then you have just a handful of people from the community doing the many jobs like the um, The working class, and these are people who don't even end much of the, the, the revenue or the profit generator from the box site mining.

[00:21:50] Perk Pomeyie: So these people still find us living in, uh, living, uh, in, in challenges. Also, you still find these people [00:22:00] living, um, Low livelihoods because then their revenue, they even get, and even that's just a handful of people who are, are, are, are employed, but then they do not even have the required skills, uh, knowledge and, um, if not have the required capacity to both effectively work in such offices.

[00:22:24] Perk Pomeyie: Work with such companies and, um, the communities. Uh, most often the narrative is these mining, mining companies through CSR projects, community social responsibility projects, uh, invest or give back into the communities. But then you don't really see much of this cause then, uh, you have community people complaining or are talking about they not be able to.

[00:22:46] Perk Pomeyie: School fees, they, they're having to spend a lot of the little money they have on their health because of the impact of BSides mining on, um, on their communities. Uh, also road networks. [00:23:00] The, the rules are very bad and you, you still see these companies with their heavy tracks plowing the rules with.

[00:23:07] Perk Pomeyie: Forward network, so many portholes and they do not even see or further impact. Cause then they use heavy tracks, probably even drive the best of cars with the best of the trucks as well. But then they have community people working, uh, uh, working, uh, using these route to their homes or to their direct places have been using public transports, which are already in poor condition and shape.

[00:23:31] Perk Pomeyie: So most of the times these um, Those do not, PO do not really, uh, impact positively the lives of just living with their, within their community.

[00:23:43] Gerry McGovern: Yeah, and I read perk about in the Amazon and in Guinea and how uh, in some communities they had to start buying in vegetables and foods cuz they couldn't grow local vegetables anymore because of the pollution from the bide mining [00:24:00] that and that the price.

[00:24:02] Gerry McGovern: Of basic commodities of rice and, and other products, uh, started, uh, significantly increasing. So they ended up being poorer many people in the local community than before the mining companies had arrived.

[00:24:18] Perk Pomeyie: Yes. And uh, I would say that in the case of Ghana it's even too different from what's happening in Brussel because then once, um, a mining company moves there and because of the nature of the business you have, um, businesses increasing their prices, you're able to make much revenue.

[00:24:39] Perk Pomeyie: So, These company workers or officials are able to afford services, but the locals are able to afford these services cause of the nature of the business and the profession has created within the community. So we, we, we have issues, we've, we've had issues like that in, in Ghana, [00:25:00] in sites where, um, mining things will not just box out money, but even good money like , it's very expensive to live in.

[00:25:09] Perk Pomeyie: Um, communities, even, even with rent, uh, renting a space is very expensive because of the nature of the. Industry and the perceptions as created around the, um, the class or the economic class of people that live or, or that work within those, um, communities.

[00:25:31] Gerry McGovern: Do you have any, uh, perk, uh, uh, specific in stories of individual families that you know, or people or say examples?

[00:25:42] Gerry McGovern: How much rice used to cost and how, how, how much it costs now, or do you have any specific examples or specific personal stories that you have been told? Uh, by, by mothers trying to raise children or, or, or fathers or any, [00:26:00] any sort of stories like that?

[00:26:02] Perk Pomeyie: Okay. Um, I do not have personal stories from. Um, people in their community and experiencing direct impact.

[00:26:09] Perk Pomeyie: But I've had opportunity to work with, um, a fellow activist who, um, Hills from one of the mining communities that Tawa and, uh, in a conversation. And, um, in the conversation we were talking about how we could do a collaborative project to support him, um, campaign against the mining company. And they ignoring the price or the price of the community and living them in a very devastated condit.

[00:26:40] Perk Pomeyie: Ferry table road networks and, um, a road network of of, of about, um, 10 kilometers, which should take you maximum 15 or 30 minutes drive will take you more than an hour because the road is very bad. So then you, you, you spend more or longer hours on road, and this is [00:27:00] going to have an impact on your productivity if you work outside the community.

[00:27:04] Perk Pomeyie: If you are a student who. Road to school. I also have an impact on your time and liability since you'd have to spend more time a road and also would mean you have to cut, um, reduce your time on other activities, probably your sleep. And to be able to make enough time to commute to school. So, uh, we've had that accommodation and this was how the challenges he raised.

[00:27:28] Perk Pomeyie: And he specifically was talking about how tribal the road was for people who the community and the dust particles that were being, um, left as trails. Whilst these tracks moved, the raw materials,

[00:27:44] Gerry McGovern: how has the government responded you? You said earlier that they tend to favor the investors rather than the communities, but how has been the overall government response?

[00:27:54] Perk Pomeyie: Um, so the overall government response hasn't been, uh, [00:28:00] encouraging. It hasn't really been encouraging and that has always caused us, us a youth movement and also as environmentalists to keep, uh, campaigning, to keep doing our policy advocacy and also to keep holding. Our government accounts are currently, um, Gem is part of, um, uh, a group of CSOs organizations and individual house that is holding the government of Ghana.

[00:28:32] Perk Pomeyie: Um, accountable to an action they took, uh, in the forest kit. So without a mining license. Uh, they entered the tour Forest to conduct some surveys and they, they, they devastated some portions of the land. So currently we. Assuming the government, the current, the case is currently at the court where we are taking the government on, on that action that they have [00:29:00] taken to destroy certain parts of the forest without the permission or the license.

[00:29:04] Perk Pomeyie: And, um, This. So these are how the actions we are taking to hold the government accountable. And it's clear that the government is not, um, listening to the people because if they're listening to, we have gotten to the place where we are at the court holding the government accountable and also, um, Questioning them on why they are, why they are bent on, um, strip mining or mining box site from the forest instead of considering other alternatives like, um, converting it into, uh, national Park and also, uh, other sustainable ways of making.

[00:29:45] Perk Pomeyie: Um, the money or the revenue they expect to make to able to develop the country.

[00:29:51] Gerry McGovern: Is there an environmental protection agency in Ghana? In Ghana? Is there a, a, a, an organization that is, [00:30:00] um, supposed to be responsible for the environment?

[00:30:03] Perk Pomeyie: Yes. Yes, they are. We, we have the Environmental Projection Agency, which is epa.

[00:30:08] Perk Pomeyie: We have, um, the mineral money at which, uh, we will. By the instrument are supposed to protect, uh, the environment and also the people, and also protect these many companies. But unfortunately, um, we don't see a lot of the, we, we don't see a lot of the work being done by the or. We are not satisfied by the work, the level of work that they are currently doing in their country and more also because it's a government institution and there's a let, there's some level of, uh, allegiance and.

[00:30:45] Perk Pomeyie: Political, uh, leaders? Yes. Well,

[00:30:49] Gerry McGovern: I come from Ireland, uh, and in Ireland, the Environmental Protection Agency has had more a history of protecting [00:31:00] industry than protecting the environment.

[00:31:03] Perk Pomeyie: So it is, it is likewise here, here in the country also.

[00:31:08] Gerry McGovern: Yes. Yeah. So, so these are, these are significant challenges going, going forward, uh, that, you know, governments, it seems all over the world.

[00:31:20] Gerry McGovern: Don't listen to the communities and don't listen, uh, to the citizens. Um, how, how is, how is things happening in, in Ghana now? Perk? Is the Ute movement been listened to? Are you, are you hopeful? Do you, do you think you can bring about positive change? Is, is, do you have some momentum? What would be. How would you, the way you see things right now,

[00:31:51] Perk Pomeyie: it's, it's sometimes, um, overwhelming and, um, frustrating to, to see your government not listen to you, [00:32:00] to to see them or to hear them say, One thing in, in, in the, in the eyes of the world, in the eyes of other international leaders and do the other, other directory opposites in their home country.

[00:32:14] Perk Pomeyie: So, um, it, it's frustrating. It's, it's really frustrating, uh, sometimes. But, um, we also draw inspiration from some of the past. Um, actions, the successes of some of the past, um, project and campaign activity that we've had, and we, we allow that, uh, to motivate and also to keep us hopeful that, um, we, so that we don't stop and give up on the campaign.

[00:32:43] Perk Pomeyie: And actually, and as we campaign every year, we make later. Progresses, we make little steps, which, um, inspires us to keep pushing and we keep pushing. Um, so it's been, it is been, um, it's, it's been rollercoaster, kind [00:33:00] of a journey up and downs, but, um, we are hopeful and we also, um, Let the future we envision for ourselves the safe and adjust environment that we look forward to, to live in, in the future, and also for, um, the future generation.

[00:33:19] Perk Pomeyie: We let that also inspire us to, to keep working hard, to achieve what we set out to do.

[00:33:27] Gerry McGovern: Incredible. And could you give me a specific example perk of, of success of something that's been a success that has made you hopeful? Uh, maybe just one example of something that, you know, something you achieved recently or in the organization that.

[00:33:47] Gerry McGovern: That said, oh, you know, that, that's, that's, that gives us hope. Yeah. So,

[00:33:53] Perk Pomeyie: um, when, um, the AWA case, uh, started, [00:34:00] um, we, we haven't had enough or much of the young people or even youth movement get involved in the ITA campaign or the ITA actions. So, um, We, we saw that there was a need for us to protect the forest escape, mainly because one, one of the key reasons was cause it was, um, a water resource for over 5 million Ghanaians.

[00:34:27] Perk Pomeyie: And this affected this, um, water source feeds, uh, feeds people beyond. The region in which this forest escape is found. So we got involved and um, we happened to be the only youth group that is part of a wide network of other NGOs and, um, well established organizations that's are pushing for this. [00:35:00] This action or goal.

[00:35:01] Perk Pomeyie: And since we have, um, joined the youth movement, sorry. Since we joined the coalition and, and in a group that's pushing for the, um, protection of the Forest Ranch, we have seen a growth of interest in other young people because we, as a young people, as part of the group then are beginning to. Create awareness on the issue and use our platform, which is already accessed to more young people, get more involved on the issue of the campaign and the IT forest.

[00:35:38] Perk Pomeyie: So when we got involved, we've, we've supported the campaign by holding. Um, a, a street march, we organized a, a street march, a protest in the city where we, we, we, we, we marched to the parliament to present a petition to the senior minister. We've had, um, a campaign [00:36:00] during an election yet, which was, um, which used non-violent direct.

[00:36:06] Perk Pomeyie: By, by having, um, huge banners in the city on the major, major, um, road network or streets of Accra, which most often you have these leaders politically use from their homes to their workplace, which is the ministry offices. So we held a campaign on this major street and um, after. Activities. We began to see a growth in awareness.

[00:36:34] Perk Pomeyie: Uh, the, we began to see the conversation on protecting the, uh, it one landscape move from a small, um, space onto the, um, online platform. So you have people from Facebook and , young people talking about it being informed, having, uh, that awareness on the. Beginning to question the government [00:37:00] to the extent that, um, the issue began to trend for long within the month.

[00:37:06] Perk Pomeyie: And we had an international support where we had, um, Leonardo DiCaprio make, uh, a treat on the two forest. So that was within the year, which we got involved and created more awareness on the issue of the forest. So this, um, um, Reflecting on these successes and how our small action as a youth group has been able to create a larger impact, this inspires us to keep pursuing our, our, our key objective of protecting the one landscape from forest, from boxer mining.

[00:37:46] Gerry McGovern: Oh, absolutely. Brilliant. That, that's a great example. And, and. You know, really, really positive. So, uh, is I'm, I'm ready to say stop the recording is, unless, is there [00:38:00] anything else you'd like to say or anything that I missed in the questions or anything you'd like to add? Uh, before we, we, we finish, uh, before I stop the recording?

[00:38:10] Perk Pomeyie: Yeah. Yeah. So I think, um, I would like to add that, um, Each and every citizen of the country have the right to enjoy a safe and a clean, uh, environment. And, um, box height mining. What it does is to rip people of that right to able to enjoy or have or live within. A clean and a healthy environment. So as part of our activity, our campaign, this is what we also, um, campaign for that the right of the people are being taken from there.

[00:38:42] Perk Pomeyie: And it's, and it's important for us to consider that in our quest to develop and also have the infrastructure as well, what the point is. You have the Asphalted road. You have the, the, the, the, the overheads and all these huge [00:39:00] infrastructures. But then I do not have the access to basic human rights, like to health, to to clean water, to healthy the food, and also to clean air.

[00:39:12] Gerry McGovern: If you're interested in these sorts of ideas, please check out my book, worldwide Waste at jerry McGovern dot. To hear other interesting podcasts, please visit. This is hcd.com.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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