The impact of the re-launch of Operation Halt II, which is made up of personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces deployed to curtail the wanton destruction of forests reserves and river bodies, through the activities of illegal mining, is being felt.
Between the period of Tuesday, October 11, 2022, when the Task Force was re-launched, and Monday, October 31, 2022, the teams had seized 30 excavators and destroyed 103 changfans.
Also, the teams have arrested some people suspected to be illegal miners in the course of their operations and handed them over to the police for investigations and possible prosecutions.
It is important to stress that excavators and changfans are the main equipment used by the illegal miners, popularly called galamseyers in local parlance, to cause huge destruction to our vegetation.
Their activities, especially with the invasion of Chinese nationals, have led to severe pollution of our revered rivers and streams with dangerous chemicals that are very harmful to human health.
The turbidity levels of water from the streams and rivers which are the main sources of the Ghana Water Company, have reached an all-time high, raising legitimate concerns about the quality of water produced by the company for human consumption.
It is in the regard of the imminent dangers posed by illegal mining that Ghanaians, in the last few years, have registered their strongest displeasure with the way the canker was being fought.
Following the wanton destruction of our water bodies and forest reserves, the Ghana Armed Forces was called to help end the menace, as all efforts and other measures to stem the tide failed to yield the desired results.
We, at The Chronicle, were simply not just happy that the fight to end the menace was handed over to the GAF, but were also extremely hopeful that being the last resort, the GAF, through Operation Halt, would be ruthless and face off the nation wreakers.
These individuals who are always on the field, as well as their fanciers sole motive, has been to destroy our water bodies and forests reserves for their individual gains at the expense of the larger society.
We are therefore, happy about the significant gains of Operations Halt II as the teams have given us every hope to believe that given the necessary backing and support, they could end the canker.
The three weeks operations, which were conducted at Kade, Ofoase, Oda, and along the banks of Rivers Birim and Pra in the Southern Command Area of Operational Responsibility, have sent a strong signal about their uncompromising stance to others.
The paper is hereby appealing to the general public to see the activities of unregulated and illegal mining in and around our water bodies, as well as the forest reserves, as serious threats to our very existence as a people.
The eminent threats could have a dire consequence which may likely include the possible outbreak of waterborne diseases that would post a national security concern to us as a people.
In view of this, it is safe to say that Operation Halt teams need our individual and collective support to go to every length to help end the canker.
We are therefore calling on the general public to volunteer credible information about galamsey activities in their localities to the appropriate authorities so that the Operation Halt teams could quickly step in.
This, we believe, would help the country to stem the tide and end the menace which constitutes an existential national security, and also a threat to our dear lives.
To the Ghana Armed Forces, we doff off our hats and encourage you to keep up to save lives today and preserve our rivers for the future generations.