Government develops national plan to tackle illegal mining – Deputy Minister

Mrs Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said on Thursday that government had developed a five year multi-national plan to deal with illegal mining.

Mrs Oteng-Gyasi said the plan would offer alternatives for illegal miners who would be displaced and build the capacity of small-scale mining companies to mine in an effective and efficient way to avoid destruction of the land.

The Deputy Minister said this at the launch of a project dubbed: “Atewa Till Eternity Video,” campaign spearheaded by A Rocha Ghana, an NGO in environmental protection and supported by the Royal Netherlands Embassy office in Accra.

The video composed by 10 musicians as Ambassadors, including Bice Osei Tuffour (OBOUR), President of Musicians Union of Ghana highlighted the need to preserve the water bodies in Atewa Forest for national park and avoid illegal mining.

The campaign Ambassadors include Sherifa Gunu, Mzvee, Kojo Rana, Nero x, Heleen, and kuami Eugene.

The Atewa is the source of three major rivers namely: River Densu, which supplies Weija Water, River Ayensu and River Abirim.

It is also a source of water for agriculture, industry and domestic activities.

Mrs Gyasi said government was committed to put in measures to ensure the success of the plan because it was critical to help protect the environment from any form of destruction especially the Atewa Forest.

She called on communities around the forest to play an active role in ensuring sustainable management of the project to enable them benefit from the natural resources in their localities.

Ms Caecilia Wijgers, Deputy Head of Missions, Dutch Embassy, said without forest there would be no water and many people would suffer as a result of that and agriculture and human activities  would be impeded.

She indicated that the Dutch Government’s commitment and contribution was to ensure that the project became beneficial to small, medium and large scale businesses and provide employment and income to the people.

Mr Seth Appiah Kubi, National Director, A Rocha Ghana, said water and water security was important in the socio economic development of a country, adding that, quality water sustains good health and the well-being of the people.

He indicated that, the project was designed for the long term protection and sustenance of the Atewa Forest Reserve and other forest reserves and water bodies in the country.

Mr Tuffour, the lead Ambassador for the Campaign said their outfit as Musicians were committed to be involved in the project to save the Atewa Forest from further destruction.

Source: GNA

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