That small scale and illegal mining in Ghana dates back into history is a fact one cannot doubt.
Indeed, it is known to have existed way back in the 18th Century as a household economic activity within few communities in the country.
In the 80s, small scale and illegal mining began to spread, and in order to regulate the activities of the miners, the Small Scale Mining Law (PNDCL 218) was passed.
Policies were consequently formulated to support the implementation of the law, to ensure that the industry contributed positively to the country’s economy.
Despite the fact that the industry contributed significantly to the economy in the past by serving as a major employer of rural labour force, it has also had very negative effects on the environment.
Regrettably, the industry has become an impediment, and a cog in the country’s wheel of progress. The environment is being degraded, water bodies polluted, and the forest cover wantonly destroyed.
Subsequently, communities are at the mercy of the illegal miners, with their buildings being destroyed, and they themselves suffering a lot of diseases, including asthma, bilharzia and other skin diseases, all from the pollution of water bodies.
As if that is not enough, we are shocked by the revelation that the illegal miners have moved their activities into homes, particularly in the Asante-Akim Central District of the Ashanti Region.
We are disheartened that the illegal miners are doing that unashamedly, after devastating river bodies forest reserves, school compounds and playing fields across the country, as well as robbing the country of its mineral wealth, and with nothing left they are now moving into homes.
The pictures and the accompanying stories published in yesterday’s Times about the illegal activities in homes, vividly painted a situation completely out of hand. And for how long, can we contain these acts of impunity?
The unimaginable scale of destruction of the environment and water bodies, should spur all of us on to stop the illegal miners from extending their activities into homes, and further afield.
The Times wishes to remind the authorities that if they ignore both the current and future dangers staring us in the face, posterity would judge us harshly.
We believe, it is high time the authorities woke up from their slumber, and stop the nefarious activities of the illegal miners.
We can no more sit unconcerned and allow the illegal miners into homes after the massive harm done to the environment.
The authorities should move into action, and swiftly too!