Oscar-winning American actor Leonardo DiCaprio has called for the protection of the Atewa Forest Reserve.

The actor, who is also an environmentalist, believes the forest is a critical reserve which is source of drinking water to millions of Ghanaians and it is also the home for some wildlife species.

“Ghana’s #Atewa Forest Reserve provides drinking water to 5 million+ people & harbors 100+ wildlife species at risk of extinction,” he said in a tweet.

The renowned actor added “We must prioritize the protection of these irreplaceable places for a healthy planet.”

The forest is a very important natural resource for the country because it serves as the source of the Densu River which feeds the Weija Dam which provides potable water to at least two million people in Accra alone. About five million people benefit from water from the forest.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s call adds to numerous voices of celebrities who have called for the protection of the forest reserve.

Ghana has signed an agreement with China which will see the Asian country mine bauxite at the reserve which is the home to an estimated 165 million tons of bauxite.

In 2017, Bice Osei Kuffour (Obour), who was then the President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), teamed up with some of Ghana’s musicians to help save the Atiwa Forest.

They launched the Atiwa Till Eternity project, a campaign by Arocha Ghana, Family Tree Entertainment and Greenbeat in Netherlands to save the depleting forest located at Kyebi in the Eastern Region.

Apart from Obour, musicians like MzVee, Sherifa Gunu, Nero X, Heleen Den Homberg (from Netherlands), Kojo Rana, Kuami Eugene and the Patch Bay Band joined forces to record and shoot a video, ‘Atiwa Till Eternity’ to push the campaign.

The video highlighted the urgent need to save the forest, which is situated in a beautiful mountainous area and endowed with vast biodiversity and mineral resource, from further destruction and illegal mining activities.

Speaking at the unveiling of the video at the Netherlands Embassy in Accra, Obour said the continuous mining and destruction of the Atiwa Forest posed a threat to all Ghanaians.

He made a passionate call on the government, Parliament and Ghanaians to help secure the forest by upgrading it into a National Park.

Obour revealed that their long-term plan was to use the campaign to institute an annual festival in Kyebi to drum home their message of turning the Atiwa Forest into a national park.