Every political administration should fight galamsey

Illegal mining, other­wise known as galamsey, and its perpetrators are no­torious in the country because of the negative effects of the illegal activity on the environ­ment by way of the pollution of water bodies and land deg­radation such as deforestation.

Currently, the country is grappling with water problems due to the pollution of rivers in areas where galamsey is commonplace.

In the circumstances, the government is doing all it can to contain the situation with a multi-prong approach, includ­ing a war on galamsey and various activities to restore the integrity of water bodies and the general environment.

Thus, a team of envi­ronmental experts from a Japan-based firm, Meiho Engineering, has arrived in the country to begin work on galamsey-polluted rivers, which are said to have high density of toxic mercury and as such have become dangerous to human health. (See our story on page 24)

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The Japanese firm is said to be experienced in environmental resto­ration and provision of services such as prelimi­nary environmental pol­lution surveys; clean-up planning and designing of purification agents accord­ing to the pollution levels; production of cleaning agents; process manage­ment; and post-project surveys.

Already, the firm has identified Pra, Birim, Ankobra and Offin, four major rivers in galam­sey-endemic areas, as containing high density of toxic mercury and are, therefore, dangerous to human health.

Before it even starts its work in full swing, Meiho Engineering has warned against drinking of water and eating of aquatic food from these rivers.

Birth defects and nerve damage which it cites in its warning are confirmed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as being among a number of harmful effects of mer­cury pollution emanating from mining.

We are happy Meiho Engineering will collabo­rate with the Noguchi Me­morial Institute for Medi­cal Research (NMIMR), a local health facility, in its work.

We believe that in ad­dition to its expertise in the area in question, the NMIMR can give direc­tion about the socio-cul­tural factors that can promote or mar the work of the Japanese firm.

The efforts the govern­ment is making to stem galamsey and also restore the integrity of water bodies and the environment are com­mendable. Our only pain is about the failure of the State, not one particular political administration, to take proac­tive action(s) to stop galamsey long before it could take root and so the country has to ex­pend so much human, finan­cial and material resources to fight it.

These resources could have otherwise been used in some productive sectors of the economy to advance national development.

We think galamsey has be­come a manace that the State Ghana has to fight and uproot because of the various bur­dens its creates for the coun­try and its people.

It is horrible to see that in spite of the ban of galamsey by the Akufo-Addo and its war on the menace, perpetra­tors are not perturbed.

The posture by these nation wreckers calls for deeper delving into illegal mining to nail it forever because it will be disastrous if after the painstaking work of Meiho Engineering, for instance, the galamseyers succeed in pollut­ing the water bodies again.

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