The COVID-19 Pandemic is considered by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) as the largest global public health crisis in a century. It has shaken and turned everything we considered normal upside down. As of 4:38pm GMT on 9th November 2021, the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 stood at 250,154,972 with 5,054.267 deaths.1 According to the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the Ghana COVID situation is tolerable. Confirmed country COVID-19 mortality has been pegged at 1,188 from an overall infection statistic of 130,391 as of November 9, 2021. Ghana has also done well in the recovery department with 127,212 recoveries and 1,781 active cases.
The economic impact of COVID-19 is being felt across the world and in Ghana the economic impact of the COVID-19 was presented to Parliament on 30th March 2020. From the reduction to import trade goods, loss of Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs), significant decline in commodity prices such as oil and gas and a huge drop in projected Gross Domestic product (GDP) growth, the effect of COVID-19 on Ghana’s economy has not been as tolerable as its actual numbers.2
At the peak of the COVID-19 in Europe and America, the oil and gas industry for instance witnessed such a historic low price that on 20th April 2020, oil prices (West Texas Intermediate) tumbled to zero.3 Oil producers had to beg off-takers to at least take 1000 barrels of oil from their storage, because they had nowhere to store the oil because of glut. This was mainly because airplanes were not flying, vehicles were not moving, and industries were barely producing due to shutdowns and various stay-at-home orders implemented by various governments across the globe.
Even though the full effect of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been fully assessed4, it is believed that the “environment” will be the ultimate beneficiary of the pandemic. Has the pandemic eased the pressure on the environment by way of reduction in emission of greenhouse gases? Were the grounded airplanes, parked vehicles, various stay-at-home orders by governments and low production by companies, which characterized the peak of the COVID-19, the cause of reduction in emissions? Will the reduction in emissions, if any, be the pearl in that pile of trash or the silver lining in that gloomy cloud? Will COVID-19 affect the environmental burdens being borne by the weak and poor to ensure fair distribution of outcomes? Will that ensure the current generation leaves a better world to the next generation? This article assesses the positive impact of an otherwise dangerous pandemic on the environment and how that will affect the ability of the future generation to meet their own needs.
The topic as was presented, is pregnant with two phrases that need to be defined and explained for a better appreciation of the discussion – environmental inequality and intergenerational equity.
- Environmental Inequality and Environmental Justice Scenario:
A powerful mining company comes to Ghana to invest in the mining industry. Through the state’s powerful tool, this mining company is granted the license to extract mineral resources. The community is only informed (not part of the decision making) that a mining right has been granted to this mining company under- section 13 of Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703.5 This mining company, by law can obtain, divert, impound, convey, and use water from [the] river, stream, underground reservoir or watercourse within the land the subject of the mineral right.6 In the course of time, the water, which may be the only water resource in the community is polluted by cyanide and other chemical spillages into rivers.7 The community (generally weak and poor- major mining towns in Ghana like Obuasi, Tarkwa, Esaase Bontefufuo, Ahafo) is left with polluted drinking water at the expense of their health. Indeed, the owner of the land, is divested of his right through the power of eminent domain exercised by the state. When the owners of the land happen to live within 500-meter perimeter of the pit being drilled by the mining company, they are moved from their ancestral homes and “resettled”.
In the scenario above, the grantors of the mining license live in their upscale homes in the capital cities around the world, either in Accra, Johannesburg, Toronto, or Denver, drinking clean bottled water and champagnes whilst the folks in the mining community are generally left with the polluted drinking water and at best, palm wine.8 This is what environmental inequality looks like.
David Pellow9 defines environmental inequality simply “as any form of environmental hazard that burdens a particular group of people”. Environmental inequality therefore focuses on broader dimensions of the inter-section between environmental quality and social hierarchies. Environmental inequality addresses more structural questions that focus on social inequality (the unequal distribution of power and resources in society) and environmental burdens.
The impact of mining on the Obuasi for instance, underscores the burden of local and poor communities. The environmental impact of mining in Obuasi (the oldest and biggest gold mining town in Ghana) is well documented.10 On the other hand, the revenue from the goldmines is used to build roads and hospitals in the capital cities.11 So environmental inequality occurs when people who are poor and less powerful are exposed to hazards generated by big corporations and institutions that are more powerful and do not suffer the environmental burdens of their actions. Even though the Ghanaian environmental regulator, the Environmental Protection Agency, by its enabling Act and Regulations12 requires industries to conduct environmental impact assessment before certain activities are undertaken, the negative environmental effects of industries on Ghanaians are well documented.13 Sad to say, the state actors who grant the mining leases and the top echelon of the mining companies do not live in these burdened communities neither do they depend on those polluted streams and damaged soil for their survival.
In order to safeguard the interest of the poor in an environmentally burdened community, the concept of environmental justice was developed. Bunyan Bryant14 defines environmental justice as “those cultural norms and values, rules, regulations, behaviors, policies, and decisions to support sustainable communities where people can interact with confidence that the environment is safe, nurturing, and productive. Environmental justice is served when people can realize their highest potential”.
Environmental Justice is supported by decent paying safe jobs, quality schools and recreation, decent housing and adequate health care, democratic decision- making and personal empowerment, and communities free of violence, drugs, and poverty.
In Ghana, research published in Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences “found high levels of arsenic and antimony concentrations in the rivers (rivers in the mining communities) ranging from 0.90 – 8.25 ppm and 0.09 – 0.75 ppm respectively, far exceeding the World Health Organizations recommended values of
0.01 and 0.005 ppm respectively”. Again, it found a spillage caused by BGL (Bilington Bogoso Gold now called Golden Star Resources Bogoso/Prestea Limited)15 on 23 October 2004, a major surface mining company found in the area. This spillage, emanated from the new tailings dam of the company into the River Aprepre, which flows into other rivers, including Egya Nsiah, Bemanyah, Manse and Ankobra. They indicated that the cyanide spillage affected Dumasi and other towns, including Goloto, Juaben and Egyabroni and that some residents of Dumasi and other villages in this area picked up and ate dead fish, crabs, shrimps and other aquatic organisms that were found floating on the surface of the river”.16
In another research on mining activities near AngloGold Ashanti’s operations and their health impact, it was discovered that residents in some five selected communities (Sanso, Anyinam, Anyinamadokrom, Abombe and Tutuka) in the Obuasi Municipality, suffer from malaria, skin diseases, diarrhoea, fever, colds and catarrh. Malaria accounted for about 42% of the diseases reported in the study, followed by respiratory infections (27%) and skin diseases (17.7%). Fever, diarrhoea and other symptoms were reported by 13.6% of the respondents in the study area. The highest occurrence of colds or cough was at Anyinam (37.1% of responses), which is located very close to AngloGold Ashanti’s open pit site where rock blasting and topsoil removal with heavy machines are prevalent.17
If one juxtaposes the Bryant definition of Environmental Justice to the situation in Ghana’s mining communities for instance, you are left with no option than to conclude that a huge environmental injustice is being done to the members of the mining communities in Ghana. It was for some of these reason that the intragenerational equity principle was developed. Intragenerational equity is concerned with equity between people of the same generation and aims to assure justice among people living in the present generation, as reflected in Principle 6 of the Rio Declaration, mandating particular priority for the special situation and needs of developing countries, particularly the least developed and those most environmentally vulnerable.18 So in order to resolve environmental inequality, no efforts must be spared to ensure that there is equity between people and countries within the same generation.
- Intergenerational Equity
In international environmental law, intergenerational equity suggest that every generation holds the Earth in common with the members of the current generation and with other generations past and future. The responsibility has been stated in major international environmental law instruments from 1972 Stockholm Declaration, Rio Declaration, United Nations Framework Convention in Climate Change, to the 2015 Paris Agreement. It is one of the principles of international environmental law. Indeed, the preamble to the 1972 Stockholm Declaration on Human Environment expressly states the purpose of the Declaration is “… to defend and improve the environment for present and future generations has become an imperative goal for mankind -a goal to be pursued together with, and in harmony with, the established and fundamental goals of peace and of world-wide economic and social development.”
So, principle 1 of the declaration states that “Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality, and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. Principle 2 of the declaration also states that “[t]he natural resources of the earth, including the air, water, land, flora and fauna and especially representative samples of natural ecosystems, must be safeguarded for the benefit of present and future generations through careful planning or management, as appropriate”. Since Stockholm, all the other international environmental law instruments have made provisions to cater for the future generations.19
According to Edith Brown Weiss in her article,20 there are several approaches to dealing with the intergeneration equity issues. The first one she talks about is the preservationist approach which is to the effect that the present generation does not deplete the natural resources but rather preserves the same level of quality of the environment for the future generation. The second approach according to her is the opulence approach, in this “the present generation consumes all that it wants today and generates as much wealth as it can, either because there is no certainty that future generations will exist or because maximizing consumption today is the best way to maximize wealth for future generations. Thus, the principle of intergenerational equity is to the effect that the human species, hold the natural environment of our planet in common with all members of our species: past, present and future generations. As members of the present generation, we hold the Earth in trust for future generations. At the same time, we are beneficiaries entitled to use and benefit from it21 and the reason for environmental justice, therefore, is to ensure that there is intragenerational and intergenerational equity. There must be a fair access to good and livable environment among and between generations.
II. Ante-COVID-19 Environmental Issues
The world faced several environmental challenges before COVID-19 hit the world in 2019 and may continue to face even more challenges. Environmental challenges the world faces include but not limited to deforestation, air pollution, climate change, water pollution, natural resource depletion, soil degradation, species extinction, overpopulation, and the greenhouse gas emissions.
The destruction of forest to make way for plantation or other agricultural monocultures or purely for timber resources lead to destruction of specie- rich forests which are needed for biodiversity reserves to sink excess carbon to keep carbon out of the atmosphere and oceans.
- Air pollution
This is somewhat generally defined, is the introduction of potentially damaging substances into the atmosphere. The substances may take the form of chemicals or biological materials. Carbon dioxide is seen as one chemical, overconcentration of which causes heat and sea level rise.22 Carbon dioxide is not bad because it helps in retaining heat to warm the earth without which the world would freeze. However, the constant burning of fossil fuels, and other industrial activities have caused the concentration of the CO2 from 280 parts per million (ppm) 200 years ago, to over 400 ppm today, a situation likely to increase the world’s temperature to the dreaded 2degrees Celsius.23
- Water pollution
Just like its twin brother air pollution, is the introduction of harmful chemicals into water bodies. Indeed, most pollutants into water bodies are traceable to human activities such as mining, oil and gas production, transportation, disposal of waste and recreation. In Ghana, during illegal mining activities, mercury is introduced into otherwise drinkable water bodies, oil and gas production causes major water pollution,24 recreation at various beach sites and water bodies dumping of fecal matter are the classic examples of introduction of harmful substances/chemicals into water bodies.
- Climate change
Climate change is defined by the UN’s intergovernmental panel for climate change as the “change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer.”25 The change in the climatic condition changes because of the over centration of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which traps and keeps excess heat energy that comes into the atmosphere. Indeed, the warmer it gets, the more severe the impact on people and the environment. The heat causes the melting of the glacier and the permafrost which in turns increases sea level. The rise of the sea levels displaces coastal dwellers. The heat leads to diseases like heat stroke, malaria, cholera, etc.
- Soil degradation
Soil degradation is also one of the environmental problems which come because of land use conversion, over exposure to chemicals, erosion, monoculture planting and overgrazing. By the United Nations estimates, 12 million hectares of farmlands get degraded and destroyed every year.
While the soil which will help produce food is being degraded, the population of the world keeps growing, and that is a major challenge facing the world. With the world’s population now over 7.7 billion,26 the population of the world has increased from 1950 population of 2.6 billion (+5.1 billion) in just about 70 years. It is estimated that from the current 7.7 billion, the world’s population is set to increase to 9.7 billion in 2050 and could peak at almost 11 billion around 2100. In spite these expected increases, the natural resources of the world are not increasing but rather depleting at a much faster rate. Overpopulation is aggravating the causes of climate change; it leads to loss of habitat and intensive farming practices which degrade the land and the soil. It is putting intense pressure on the nature’s finite resources from water, food, flora and fauna, oil, gas minerals etcetera.27
- Species extinction
United Nation’s report28 on sustainable development showed that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades, more than ever before in human history. The report also shows that more that 40% amphibian species are threatened with extinction and that more than 500,000 out of the world’s estimated 5.9 million terrestrial species have insufficient habitat for long term survival without habitat restoration and more than 40% of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Now these species play very critical roles in the eco system. The report is even more frightening when it comes to the forest, the report shows that 290 million hectares of native forest cover was lost from 1990-2015 (just 25 years) due to clearing and wood harvesting. It also showed that there has been 45% increase in raw timber production since 1970 (4 billion cubic meters in 2017) and out of that between 10-15% and some cases, 50% of the global timber supply were procured through illegal means. Without these species, the survival of human beings on earth becomes precarious, the search for drugs and food will be severely affected by the extinction of these species. This, will greatly impact the poor who in most cases depend directly on these species for survival and also lead to less quality environment for the future generation.
III. Enter COVID-19
COVID-19 is a disease that was first noticed in Hubei, Wuhan in December 2019, is defined as illness caused by a novel coronavirus called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2, (SARS-CoV-2).29 On January 9, 2020, the WHO announced mysterious coronavirus-related pneumonia in Wuhan, China; and by January 21, 2020, the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) confirmed its first coronavirus case. Wuhan was put under quarantine two days later and the WHO declared global health emergency. By February 2, 2020, global air travel was restricted. Ghana closed its borders to all travelers on March 22, 2020 and shutdown the country to movements of goods and persons. By the end of March 2020, almost half of the world’s population were under one form of lockdown or the other.30 The lockdowns led to massive drop in the use of airplanes and vehicles. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), when the pandemic began, the airline industry’s international passenger traffic for 2020, compared to their baseline, experienced overall reduction ranging from 55% to 67% of seats offered by airlines which amounts to overall reduction of approximately 1,196 to 1,456 million passengers.31 It also said, the domestic passenger traffic for 2020, compared to their baseline also experienced overall reduction ranging from 32% to 42% of seats offered by airlines, an overall reduction of approximately 1,148 to 1,522 million passengers.32
The various stay at home orders also ensured that some production facilities came to a halt, millions of vehicles were parked at home as people began to work from home to avoid catching the COVID-19. These reductions translated into less airplanes being flown, less cars on roads, less demand for goods leading to factory shutdowns. This also led to less demand for oil and gas consumption and effect less emission of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2)33 from the airplanes, vehicles, and industries into the atmosphere. These changes in the demand for oil and gas led to dramatic changes in the environment. According to an article published on Elsevier,34 “NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) released fresh evidence which suggests that environmental quality improved and the emission of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) reduced up to 30%” due to low traffic. See Table 1 below. This shows how an otherwise dangerous pandemic has become one source of internal regeneration of the environment.
Figure 1 above shows the NO2 concentration in Wuhan during 2019 and 2020. The image shows that in comparison with 2019, emissions reduced drastically in 2020 because of the COVID-19 (the red and more greyish compared).
Fig. 2 above represents NO2 emissions sequence of China before and after lockdown. Where NO2 emissions is reduced up to 20–30% from February 10 to 25 after lockdown was implemented (ESA, 2020). The satellite image was captured by ESA satellite Sentinel-5P.
Fig. 3 above represents NO2 emissions concentration in Spain during March 2019 and March 2020. According to (ESA, 2020), the NO2 emissions reduced up to 20 to 30% in Spain due to lockdown, especially across the major cities such as Madrid, Barcelona and Seville.
Fig. 4 above represents NO2 emissions concentration in France during March 2019 and March 2020. NO2 emissions is reduced up to 20 to 30% in France (ESA, 2020). The satellite image was captured by ESA satellite Sentinel-5P using TROPOMI Instrument.
Fig. 5 above represents NO2 emissions concentration in France during March 2019 and March 2020. The image indicates that NO2 concentration reduced significantly during lockdown due to transport shut down and low mobility. The satellite image was captured by ESA satellite. NO2 emissions across Italy is reduced up to 20 to 30% (ESA, 2020).
Fig. 6 above represents NO2 emissions concentration in northeastern part of United States during March 2015 to 2019 and March 2020. Satellite image was captured by
NASA through AURA satellite using OMI instrument. Where NO2 emissions are reduced up to 30% due to lockdown in northeastern part of USA (NASA, 2020).
According to research,35 COVID-19 has also led to reduction of noise pollution. Noise pollution has been a factor in a number of debilitating ailments including hearing impairment, stroke, elevated heart pressure, sleep disturbance, acceleration, and intensification of latent mental disorders. Fortunately, the lockdown of Accra and Kumasi36 by the government brought down the noise from tooting commercial and private vehicles, market centers, churches, drinking bars, night clubs, funerals, weddings, trains, and airplanes to the lowest decibel in these cities. So, with less human movement, seismologists report that the planet literally calmed and were reported lower vibrations from regular noise than before the pandemic.37
At the outbreak of the pandemic, the Chinese authorities temporarily banned the buying, selling and transportation of wild animals in markets, restaurants, and online marketplaces across the country. This led to a reduction in the demand for endangered species in China and other parts of the world. In China, the main market for endangered fauna species, a ban was placed on the consumption of animal species such as pangolin, bats, and civets.38 All wildlife farms were also quarantined and eventually, the ban has been made permanent. This unexpected intervention by nature is looking more likely as the only way to save wildlife from extinction. In Barcelona, Spain, boars were found to roam the city and roads where, vehicles used to park. In Santiago, the capital of Chile, wild puma, hill dwellers, were noticed in nighttime. Marcelo Giagnoni, the director of the agricultural and Livestock Service has opined that “This is the habitat they once had and that we have taken away from them.”39 Even though there is no data, in Ghana it can be safely assumed that when the two biggest cities were shut down, the demand for bush meat equally went down as all local restaurants were closed thereby giving the fauna species needed respite for procreation and possibly, multiplication.
On flora, COVID-19 has led to vast reduction in the use of timber especially for papers across the globe. During the peak of the COVID-19, most in-person conferences, classes, examinations were all suspended or held online. The massive papers that are consumed through these conferences and lectures obviously take a toll on the forest. The pandemic has also disrupted international trade in such a way that export and import of timber came to a standstill. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) preliminary report, between January and February 2020, imports/exports of wood and paper products (including furniture) declined ranging from 6 percent (United States of America) to 27 percent (Brazil), year-on-year. Among countries experiencing declines were: Chile (-24percent), China (-20percent), New Zealand (-17percent), Republic of Korea (-16percent), Japan (-14percent) and Canada (-11percent). Only two major countries increased their import/export over the same period: South Africa (+11percent) and Turkey (+5percent). The FAO’s report saw the disruption in international trade and specifically the plummeting trade in timber as an economic loss, especially for developing countries that depend on the timber trade, but there is a silver lining in the supposed economic loss, the drop in the import/export of timber shows COVID- 19 took the lead in protecting the forest than the world leaders.40 The forest, the carbon removal agent without which, the global mitigation of climate change goals cannot be met is saved anytime there is a drop in the demand and supply of timber and COVID-19 forced it before the Conference of Parties (COP) 26 Glasgow declaration in November 2021.
III. Everlasting Pearls
Pearls are precious jewels which will last forever if taken care of. The pearls found during the COVID-19 era will not last if the world does not take practical steps to protect the environment. It is the reason why the declaration on forest and land use signed by 141 countries during the COP 26 in Glasgow is welcome news to environmentalists. Clause of 2 of the declarations says it will be the responsibility of signatories to “facilitate trade and development policies, internationally and domestically, that promote sustainable development, and sustainable commodity production and consumption, that work to countries’ mutual benefit, and that do not drive deforestation and land degradation.” If signatories work to sustain this, then the forest will be preserved for the future generation. The methane reduction due to reduction of the use of vehicles has received a boost from the COP 26 with the announcement by the USA and other 104 participating, including Ghana, promising to cut their methane emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2030.
In our discussion so far, we have come to understand environmental inequality and intergenerational equity, that the weak and the poor have been unduly burdened by the decisions of the strong and powerful. So, while the world was busy consuming the finite natural resources whilst emitting various chemicals into the atmosphere, COVID-19 hit, it forced the world to slow down the rate of environmental degradation. Information from NASA and ESA shown in figures 1 to 6 above clearly show how the atmosphere has been healed because of the COVID-19 related shutdown across the globe.
The forest cover saw some preservation if one assesses the rate of decline in import and export of timber in during the shutdowns. With China banning the consumption of wild life, the eco-system is getting safer for all manner of species. (Un)fortunately, the population has been reduced and keeps reducing because of COVID-19.41 These events give the hope that the present generation may not willingly, but with the force of pandemics like COVID-19, leave a better environment for the next generation. Environmental inequality will not disappear because of COVID-19 but as people become more aware of their right to clean environment, they will continue to fight for environmental justice. The reason why fatality rate among minority groups in Europe and America is high is partly because they live in environmentally burdened communities, people in low-income bracket everywhere in the world live in environmentally burdened communities and are susceptible to all kinds of diseases which increases fatality rate among people infected with the virus.42
So, after the end of over 3 months of lockdowns across the globe, it became evident that life can go on relatively well without so much dependency on lifestyle associated with use of papers, fossil fuels, excessive noise and unbridled exploitation of natural resources. The report from NASA and ESA shows clearly how the world would look like without fossil fuel. It is hoped that humanity could emerge from that dangerous pandemic cleaner and healthier world and will depend not on the short-term impact of the virus, but on the long-term political, institutional, social, communal, and individual mind-set and collective decisions to give a checkmate to climate deterioration.
There is a possibility that the post-COVID-19 period would bring the pace of human dominancy and environmental pollution back. Therefore, the self-regenerated nature without human effort can be everlasting with human interference in the form of reduction of pollutants during post COVID-19 periods and regular interval lockdowns in entire planet coupled with long term holidays, reduction of in person meetings for on-line, strict enforcement of the ban of endangered species, afforestation and funding of developing countries like Ghana to transition into green energy are suggested as some of the measure to sustaining the perils from the horror show of COVID-19.
* Lecturer, GIMPA Faculty of Law.
1 https://COVID19.who.int/ last accessed on 28th October 2021.
2 https://www.mofep.gov.gh/sites/default/files/news/MoF-Statement-to- Parliament_20200330.pdf. Last accessed on 9th September 2020.
3 https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/20/oil-markets-us-crude-futures-in-focus-as-coronavirus-dents- demand.html. Last accessed on 20th April 2020.
4 Hopefully that will be done after the dust has settled. 5 13. (1) The Minister shall within sixty days on receipt of recommendation from the Commission make a decision and notify the applicant in writing of the decision on the application and where the application is approved, the notice shall include details of the area, the period and the mineral subject to the mineral right.
6 Section 17 of Act 703.
7 According to an environmental focus website called DownToEarth, there were 2 cyanide spillages in 2015 at the Bogoso-Prestea mines in Ghana. “The spill occurred as cyanide-laced tailings (mine waste) leaked from the mine’s tailings dam into the Ajoo stream, a tributary of the river Aprepre and the ONLY [emphasis supplied] source of water for the nearby community. An earlier cyanide spill, reported on October 23, 2004, had also contaminated the river Aprepre. In both instances, some villagers consumed water or fish from the river and fell ill. But no independent health investigation has taken place in either of the cases. Ghana has recorded more than nine cyanide spills since liberalisation of the mining sector in the 1980s”. – https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/gold-mine-spills-cyanide-in-ghana-8309 [last accessed in 21st June 2020].
8 It is a local alcoholic drink made from sap of various palm trees.
9 David N. Pellow, Environmental Inequality Formation: Toward a Theory of Environmental Justice,  581.
10 In research published on Environmental law Alliance entitled Environmental and Health Impact of Mining on Surrounding Communities: A Case Study of Anglogold Ashanti in Obuasi, it was found that there was a huge air, water noise pollution and exposure to toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury in the Obuasi community leading to high health care cost and high mortality rate among the residents. It found that the community lacked quality educational infrastructure, high cost of living as compared to the capital city of Kumasi, high school dropout, prostitution, and diseases.
11 There is only one Government Hospital in Obuasi with a population of over 200,000 according to last population and housing census.
12 Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994, Act 490, section 12 and Environmental
Assessment Regulation, 1999 LI 1652, regulation 1.
13 G, Hilson, The Environmental Impact of Small-Scale Mining in Ghana: Identifying Problems and Possible Solutions, -Geograhical Journal, 2002- AY Emmanuel, Review of Environmental and Health Impacts of Mining in Ghana, Wiley Online Library 2018. , CS Jerry-Journal of Health and Pollution, 2018.
14 R Bezdek, D Ferris, J Kadri, R Wolcott, W Drayton, Environmental Justice: Issues, Policies and Solutions (1995).
15 A mining company which as its operations in Prestea/Bogoso, a mining town found in the Western Region of Ghana.
16 Albert K. Mensah, Ishmail O. Mahiri , Obed Owusu , Okoree D. Mireku , Ishmael Wireko ,
Evans A. Kissi , Environmental Impacts of Mining: A Study of Mining Communities in Ghana, Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2015, Vol. 3, No. 3, 81-94 Available online at http://pubs.sciepub.com/aees/3/3/3.
17 Aboka yaw Emmanuel, Cobbinah Samuel Jerry, and Doke Adzo Dzigbodi, Review of Environmental and Health Impacts of Mining in Ghana, J Health Pollut. 2018 Mar; 8(17): 43–52.
18 D, Shelton, Oxford Handbook of International Environmental Law, 2008 chapter 1.
19 Article 3.1 of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change says “The Parties should protect the climate system for the benefit of present and future generations of humankind, on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities…”
20 EB Weiss, Intergenerational Equity: a legal framework for global environmental change, 1992.
22 Marting Hertzberg and Hans Shreuder , Role of atmospheric carbon dioxide in climate change https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0958305X16674637?journalCode=eaea Last accessed on June 3rd 2020.
23 N, Jones, How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters, https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-the-world-passed-a-carbon-threshold-400ppm-and-why-it- matters. Last accessed on June 3rd 2020.
24 The Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Kosmos’ spillage of 699 barrels of mud in Ghana’s offshore, illegal mining activities in streams and rivers, waste disposal into streams are but few examples of water pollution).
25 IPCC — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last accessed on 12 September 2021.
26 https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/population/index.html, last accessed on 24th June 2020.
28 UN Report: Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’; Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’ published on May 6 2019
https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/blog/2019/05/nature-decline-unprecedented-report/ last accessed on 24th June 2020.
29 https://COVID19.who.int/ last accessed on 28th October 2021.
30 Italy, France and Spain impose lockdown on March 14, California Issued stay at home order on 20th March; South Africa, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo ordered nationwide lockdowns. 31 Effects of Novel Corona Virus on Civil Aviation: Economic Impact Analysis, https://www.icao.int/sustainability/Documents/COVID- 19/ICAO%20COVID%202020%2006%2022%20Economic%20Impact.pdf-last accessed on 27th June 2020.
33 According to science carbon dioxide is an acidic colourless gas which is released through human activities such burning of fossil fuels, deforestation etc and cause climate change by trapping heat from the sun, while nitrogen oxide is a noxious gas emitted by motor vehicles, power plants, and industrial facilities. It interacts with water, oxygen and other chemicals in the atmosphere to form acid rain. Acid rain harms sensitive ecosystems such as lakes and forests.
34 Sulaman Muhammad, COVID-19 pandemic and environmental pollution: A blessing in disguise?- https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S0048969720323378?token=E88B1B177F6F1EDAAC5
95C9BC5- last accessed on 27th June 2020.
35 WHO research on Guidelines for Community Noise, https://www.who.int/docstore/peh/noise/Comnoise-1.pdf- last visited on 30th June 2020.
36 See presidential address dated 5th April 2020, Address To The Nation By President Akufo-
Addo On Updates To Ghana’s Enhanced Response To The Coronavirus Pandemic – The Presidency, Republic of Ghana, last vsited on 20th November 2021.
37 Biswaranjan Paital, Nurture to nature via COVID-19, a self-regenerating environmental strategy of environment in global context Vol 729 August 2020. https://reader.elsevier.com/reader/sd/pii/S004896972032605X?token=6FDB4E4FCC5DDFAFA 126FF3DCCB637C3D870C8A4946D07602086AD04A4A7ACFF8504827D3E63A83E0F2F0B
1CA8F716E2- last accessed on 28th June 2020.
38 China just banned the trade and consumption of wild animals. Experts think the coronavirus jumped from live animals to people at a market, https://www.pulse.com.gh/bi/tech/china-just- banned-the-trade-and-consumption-of-wild-animals-experts-think-the/8jmeh0r, last accessed on 30th June 2020.
39 (Reuters news, 2020). 40 Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use – UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021 (ukcop26.org). At the conference the world leaders “[Emphasized] the critical and interdependent roles of forests of all types, biodiversity and sustainable land use in enabling the world to meet its sustainable development goals; to help achieve a balance between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and removal by sinks; to adapt to climate change; and to maintain other ecosystem services… and reaffirmed their commitments to sustainable land use, and to the conservation, protection, sustainable management and restoration of forests, and other terrestrial ecosystems” (last accessed on 14th November 2021).
41 As at 9th November 2021, the WHO confirmed COVID-19 related death stood at 5,054,267.
42 Kim, Sage J.; Bostwick, Wendy; Social Vulnerability and Racial Inequality in COVID-19 Deaths in Chicago, Health Education & Behavior. Aug2020, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p509-513.