From Naabenyin Joojo Amissah, Cape Coast
The Deputy Central Regional Minister, Mr Thomas Yaw Adjei Baffoe, says Ghana is likely to import potable water if the wanton destruction of water bodies is not stopped.
According to him, rivers such as Offin, Pra and Kakum among others in the Central Region, that served as main sources of water for thousands of residents have been devastated by human activities.
Speaking to The Chronicle, Mr Baffoe mentioned illegal mining at the banks and in some instances in the rivers, as two major problems that must be addressed.
“This is why the government wants to streamline all activities of small scale mining so that we can save our water bodies for the next generation. When I was growing up we could drink water from the Pra and Offin rivers and also catch all kinds of fishes from these same rivers, but we can’t tell the same stories today.
“Creating decent employment for Ghanaians is a top priority for President Nana Addo, but poisoning the rivers with chemicals and its accompanying health risks in the name of creating jobs is not acceptable”, Mr Baffoe said.
Illegal mining or galamsey along the banks of water bodies in the country reached a crescendo some few years ago as it became safe haven for some foreigners, especially Chinese nationals. Several acreages of forest reserves have been destroyed by these foreigners and their local collaborators, whilst rivers Pra, Offin and Ankobra among others suffered worst devastations.
Effects on Climate Change and SDGs
The destruction of water bodies and forest reserves in the country are adversely affecting Ghana’s quest for achieving Climate/Green Economy and SDGs related targets.
For instance, it is likely to affect goal 6, which focuses on clean water and sanitation with a target of achieving universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
Destruction of water bodies by illegal miners also threatens the quest for improved water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimising release of hazardous chemicals among others.
Activities of illegal mining in the forest reserves also constitute serious threat to SDG 14 and the set target for 2025.The target seeks to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution.
The 2020 target of SDG 15 which ensures the conservation, restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial and inland freshwater ecosystems and their services, in particular forests, wetlands, mountains and dry lands, in line with obligations under international agreements is also likely to be missed.
However, the ban of all illegal mining activities in water bodies and forest reserves appear to be addressing the aforementioned challenges militating against Ghana’s quest for meeting the targets.