The Environmental Protection Agency ,EPA, is forecasting that,the fight against illegal mining and other environmental challenges in Ghana may hit a snag if the Institution is not resourced with enough staff and logistics to effectively manage the environment .
The Eastern regional Director of EPA,Mr.Felix Addo-Okyireh told Environmental News Agency (ENA) ,EPA is woefully understaffed considering the volume of environmental challenges confronting the country hence making it difficult to efficiently deal with all matters related to the environment including mining.
He cited that ,the Eastern regional directorate of EPA for instance ,has only five technical staff in charge of all 26 districts in the region .This he said,makes monitoring and enforcement of many environmental regulations extremely difficult despite extra efforts by the agency.
Mr.Addo -Okyireh has also suggested that, permit fees to small scale miners which was raised to almost ghc10,000 and subsequently reduced to ghc6,000 must be further reduced together with permit renewal fees ,if banning of small scale mining is not immediate option in the fight against galamsey ,to encourage small scale miners to register with EPA to enable constant monitoring and compliance.
The Regional Director of EPA suggested that,the fight against illegal mining must first target at chamfai miners since they use Chinese technology to mine directly in river bodies leading to heavy pollution of water bodies in the country.A ministerial task-force on toured some illegal mining sites in the Eastern Region, following expiration of government’s three-weeks ultimatum to the miners to cease operation ended Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
The task-force, led by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, also included officials from the Minerals Commission, security officers and other stakeholders.About 544 excavators have been moved out of their hideouts at separate illegal mining sites across the country at the end of the ultimatum.
Government fight against illegal mining has been necessitated by torrid pressure out of public outcry and media advocacy over destruction of the arable lands and pollution of river bodies with impunity by the illegal miners leading to shut down of some water treatment plants in the Country.