The lives of women are mostly affected by the impacts of COAL establishments. Thanks to WOMIN (https://womin.org.za/ ), we learnt that coal establishments have a lot of negative impact on our communities especially women such as health problems due to the pollution of water and air which causes miscarriages from drinking coal-polluted water and respiratory diseases. Women have to take care of their sick children from the coal extractives. The effects also bring about land grabbing and division of communities. Since the affected communities no longer have a source of livelihood, this causes the loss of food security and families are affected because they get broken (where men leave their women behind in search for an alternative source livelihood).
The establishment of a coal plant in Ghana would greatly affect the only source of livelihood for the Ekumfi communities since the citizens of that community fish. They depend on rain water for survival, what would happen to them when the atmosphere gets polluted? Culturally, our ancestral graves are going to be relocated and cultural heritage is going to be destroyed due to relocation of settlers.
FIG. 3: OUR TOXIC TOUR BY GROUNDWORK (http://www.groundwork.org.za/ )
The pollution from coal is massive to the extent that we spent less than an hour close to the mine. Even after exiting the location of the mine, I experienced a serious headache. Ghanaians cannot allow this to destroy our atmosphere and environment causing more illness and diseases in our beloved country. That is why 350 GROC (Ghana Reducing Our Carbon) is campaigning with the slogan #StopTheCOALDream in Ghana because coal kills.
Many are of the view that coal is cheap but it’s health implications on our people and environmental are too expensive and it would be the best for the country to go Renewables which has long term benefits. The toxic tour also made us realise that coal can never develop a country because the environmental and health effects are too much.
FIG. 4: A clear indication of blasting happening. Research has shown that the periodic blasting end up affecting children to develop brain tumours. Inhalation of the dust results in many illnesses.
The name DeCOALonise is from Kenya. Across Africa, we are going to campaign on this and make sure we share in each country’s campaign to make our voices heard. The deCOALonise Africa campaign platform aims to unite campaigns and movements working to end the age of coal in Africa and move to clean renewable energy. We are uniting diverse campaigns with a call to halt new coal establishments in Africa. Together, we are more powerful. It is time to deCOALonise Africa Fast! https://decoalonise.africa/
In South Africa, we discussed on the deCOALonise platform the journey so far. Everyone had a good understanding of the vision of what deCOALonise was for the platform. We got the opportunity to share our experiences and challenges from what each country (such as: Kenya, Ghana, Congo, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Benin and South Africa) is doing in fighting coal. This helped us to know how we can work together to best spread the word across the continent. We learnt about setting smart goals and ways of organizing good meetings (tips, strategies, rules and steps). Social media is a major campaign tool we can use moving forward and Chris shared with us the digital skills.