Galamsey fight: Government in it for the long haul – Minister
The government of Ghana says it has no intention of giving up on the ongoing fight against small-scale illegal gold mining in various parts of the country.
Government has therefore put in place strategic measures to address the long-term catastrophic effects of illegal small-scale mining commonly referred to as galamsey.
According to the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, at the current forest destruction rate of 125,000 hectors per year, coupled with pollution of both surface and ground water, government is therefore compelled to position itself to fight the canker for a very long time.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng who chairs a nine-member Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the President, Nana Akuffo-Addo to lead the galamsey fight has intimated that while ensuring compliance and intensifying monitoring and public education, the government has committed itself to the application of technology such as the use of drones and satellite surveillance to aid the campaign against illegal mining.
The Minister was contributing to a panel discussion on galamsey at a public screening of a documentary on the subject in Accra.
The 30-minute documentary titled “Galamsey – For a fistful of Gold” was produced by a German filmmaker, Johhannes Preuss.
The film, which has since won Student Oscars in 2017, highlights the phenomenon of illegal gold mining in Ghana and particularly focuses on pollution of water bodies with carcinogenic chemicals used in the enterprise, poverty, exploitation and corruption.
The public screening of the film in Accra was under the auspices of the German technical co-operation agency, GIZ and the German education and cultural organisation, the Goethe Institute as part of measures to continue the conversation on the problem and to raise public awareness about the effect of illegal gold mining on individuals, communities and the country as a whole.
Various parts of rural Ghana, especially those within the ecological zones have been devastated by the activities of galamsey operators who rid the forests of its cover, pollute water bodies, create insecurity in areas where they operate and have left significant social crisis in the communities.
Government in a daring response, placed a ban on illegal small-scale mining and established a joint military-police force known as operation vanguard to combat the activities of such illegal miners.
Prof Frimpong-Boateng told the gathering made of academics, students, researchers, scientists and the diplomatic community that the Ghana government is seeking to consolidate what he called significant progress made to ensure all linkages posing obstacles to the fight for sustainable mining in Ghana are achieved.
The German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff commended the government of Ghana for “decisive action’ on galamsey which according to him has poisoned the soil, degraded the environment and deprived inhabitants of economic livelihoods.
Other discussants including a Community Health Specialist, Dr. Benedict Calys-Tagoe and the Convenor of Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Kenneth Ashigbey called for sustained political will backed by adequate financial resources to make the fight to stop illegal small-scale gold mining in Ghana achievable.
The discussion was moderated by the Managing Editor of Ghana Business News, Emmanuel K. Dogbevi.
By: Emmanuel J. K. Arthur
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