One activity in the country that has been a source of concern to everyone is illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’. So serious is the menace that the sources of drinking water in various parts of the country have been adversely affected.
This illegal mining is going on in various parts of the country because of the role played by various stakeholders in its execution.
The various stakeholders include prominent persons in the communities, chiefs and some Ghanaian nationals who are always prepared to front for some foreigners who have acquired the equipment needed for the illegal activity. Thus, if illegal mining is to be halted then all those involved ought to be stopped.
It is in the light of this that the Times finds it reassuring to hear that President Akuffo-Addo has declared his commitment to fight the menace. The assurance was given when the Standing Committee of the National House of Chiefs paid a courtesy call on him at Flagstaff House.
The President has declared his commitment to fight the menace, hinting of a policy that will soon be presented to parliament for consideration.
The Times is of the view that the concern of the President is timely and therefore, urges stakeholders to play their part to ensure that the fight against illegal mining succeeds.
The adulterated word ‘galamsey’ comes from “gather them and sell” and has been coined the way it is used today by the illegal miners, many of whom are semi-literate.
It is a fact that many young men and women are engaged in the activity by reason of non-existing employment opportunities in various parts of the country.
To solve the problem therefore, we need to generate employment opportunities to absorb the teeming unemployed youth, many of whom believe that it is only illegal mining that can give them the quick employment they need in life.
Towards this end, the government’s desire to generate and create jobs for the youth needs to be encouraged without delay. In this connection, the ‘one district one factory’ concept ought to be operationalised to make life more meaningful for the unemployed youth.
In addition, government should also streamline the operations of all small scale miners, ensuring that they are brought under proper supervision to operate legally and also in an environmentally friendly way. It is the view of the Times that this can help to bring sanity into the system.
Whiles government is leading the way to address the problem of illegal small scale mining, all other stakeholders are also expected to play their role to make the exercise successful in the interest of the entire country.
This explains why all chiefs as well as opinion leaders in the various communities throughout the country ought to throw their weight behind the government and help in the success of the fight against all ‘galamsey’ operators.
The fight is meant for the good of the country, so no one should use it to stimulate disaffection among ‘galamsey’ operators against the government.
Our polluted rivers, other water sources and forests must be preserved and brought back to life. Environmental degradation needs to be halted to protect life in this country.
The time to fight for environmental sanity is now, so all hands must be on deck in the fight against the threat to the environment through illegal mining.