The Government of Ghana has assembled experts to formulate workable solutions to tackle illegal mining menace degrading and polluting the environment with impunity in the Country.
According to the Vice President of Ghana,Dr.Mahamadu Bawumia,government is working closely with the experts to find lasting solutions to the illegal mining canker christened locally as galamsey, a leading anthropogenic in the country .
The Vice President however confessed that,implementation and enforcement of recommendations will require a firm political will due to the influential actors directly and indirectly engaged in the destructive gold extraction activities.
“the President has instituted a major request that we come out with a Policy paper ,some experts are currently working on this specifically on galamsey it will have to take a lot of political will to deal with this but it has to be dealt with because the damage is going to be irreparable if we leave it as it is, so in the next few weeks you will see some announced major policies on dealing with the menace that the galamsey activities are posing in this country so we expect a political will to deal with this matter even though you will have a lot of interest groups and sometimes powerful interest groups behind these activities but we as a country have to take the bull by the horn to take what is right for our environment and for our people“. The Vice President said.
The Vice President said this on Friday when delivering a Key note address at a round table natural resources conference organized by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in collaboration with the Institute of Green Growth Growth Solution .
The Vice President described as “disturbing” ,the destructive and Polluting activities of illegal small scale mining in the country adding that “if you go across the country and look at what is happening to our water bodies .Water treatment plants have been shut down in some few places because of the impact of galamsey this is not something that as country we should take lightly ,the water shortages we are seeing across this country is very much link to environmental degradation and the sketch of galamsey and illegal small scale mining in the vicinity of many water bodies in this country”.
Ghana is battling extensive environmental damages being perpetrated by illegal small scale miners over a decade.Despite enacting laws criminalising illegal small Scale mining,strict enforcement of the Law to tackle the menace head-on remains a challenge due to lack of firm political will by successive governments which created opportunity for foreigners including Chinese to also engage in the act.
Illegal small scale mining activities have led to heavy metal pollution of major river bodies across the country most rivers recording unprecedented turbidity levels averagely around 6000NTU making it untreatable by Water Treatment Plants.Researchers say,Ghana may import water from 2030 should the current rate of Pollution continue unabated.
Forest reserves have been invaded by the illegal miners destroying ecosystem and biodiversity .Deforestation rate in Ghana is currently around 2% per annum which is among the highest in the world.The Agriculture sector has been affected by the illegal mining activities due to degradation of arable lands and destruction of crops .
The General Agricultural Workers Union,GAWU,at their recent National Executives meeting placed emergency call to government to totally ban illegal small scale mining in Ghana to save the Agriculture sector.