Galamsey poses health risk – Principal
Alhaji Abdul Karim Boakye –Yiadom, the Principal of Ntotoroso College of Nursing has stated that the present generation of Ghanaians would seriously be affected by the ‘galamsey’ menace if it not dealt with.
He said the type of diseases that would emerge in the next 10 to 20 years, especially in the galamsey (illegal mining) areas could be difficult control and would be a burden on the country‘s financial resources.
Alhaji Boakye -Yiadom was speaking when Mr. Paul Essien, the Deputy Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs had a meeting with the members of the Ntotoroso Traditional Council in Asutifi North District of Brong-Ahafo Region as part of his three-day working visit to the region.
He expressed the fear that the internal organs of the young men and women and even adolescents who are engaging in the galamsey activities could be affected because of the chemicals being used in their operations.
Alhaji Boakye -Yiadom stressed the need for the youth to be sensitised on the looming health hazard as a result of their involvement in the illegal mining activities, saying that ultimately all the wealth they were acquiring now would have to be used in seeking cure for their failing health.
He said their wealth would not even be enough and would need additional financial support from their families and the state to cure or manage their ill health, he added.
Alhaji Boakye -Yiadom expressed worry that the youth at the galamsey sites also engaged in drug abuse and alcoholism as they sniffed cocaine, smoke marijuana (Indian Hemp) and took excessive hard liquor which also negatively affected their health.
Deputy superintendent of Police (DSP) Teddy Damptey Brown, the Asutifi North District Police Commander appealed to the Judiciary to not only hasten the trial of galamsey suspects but must also give them harsher sentences to deter other young men and women from engaging in such misdeeds.
He expressed his displeasure that all the 15 people arrested by the Police two months ago at Ntotoroso had been granted bail by a Magistrate Court in Sunyani, saying that “suspects are back in town, still engaging in the act and bragging that no matter the number of times that they are arrested they would still be back to continue their job”.
DSP Brown warned those ‘galamseyers’ who wanted to defy the orders of the government to beware and restrain themselves because the Police would act decisively to clamp down on them.
Barima Twereku Ampem III, the paramount chief of Ntotoroso stated that ‘galamsey’ is not the only job in the country and advised the youth to take advantage of the government’s Planting for Food and Jobs Programme to engage in agriculture because there are abundant fertile lands for farming purposes.
He expressed worry that the youth had now resorted to working in the nights and called on the government to assist in filling all pits dug in the area to enable the Police to chase the ‘galamseyers’ in the nights.
Nana Ampem III warned the youth in the traditional area to put a stop to the illegal mining activities as he would not sit down for the lands kept for the future generation to be destroyed because of the selfish interest of some few people.