Galamsey ‘business’ destroying Nkroful, T’Bokaso, Anwial beyond recognition
It appears the massive destruction of lands and vegetation with its attendant pollution of river bodies as a result of illegal mining currently ongoing unabated, especially on lands in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region may not end anytime soon.
Though the Ellembelle District Security Council (DISEC) has declared war on illegal mining, popularly known as ‘Galamsey’, it appears this declaration is just by word of mouth, lacking action.
Considering the rate of destruction, it appears the illegal business has now gained root and spread to other areas in the District.
Pictures in the possession of this paper speak volumes of how, for instance, Teleku Bokazo, Anwia, Site 3, and part of Nkroful, the galamsey activity has wreaked havoc on lands.
Last year, the six paramount chiefs in the Nzema area visited some of the areas where illegal mining has destroyed lands and called for an end to it.
Regrettably, the call by the prominent chiefs appears to have fallen on deaf ears, as the rate at which the illegal activity has gained further roots.
Worried about the level of destruction, a youth group, which called ‘Galamsey Action Group’, has, in a strong worded letter, petitioned the six paramount chiefs in the Nzema community to act before the situation gets out of hand.
In a petition signed by Elizabeth Allua Vah on behalf of the Galamsey Action Group, the group wrote “On behalf of the people of Nzema and on our own behalf, we the undersigned would like to bring to your attention the following issues currently ravaging our dear Nzema lands.”
The group stated, for instance, the devastating effect galamsey was wrecking on Nzema lands and that in the last ten years, irresponsible mining and illegal mining had left unspeakable devastation of the land.
“This level of destruction has taken on a new life of its own in the past five years. Today, Nkroful, the birthplace of our pride and First President of Ghana has been left with gullies and unspeakable devastation that pose major risks to the inhabitants. Even school lands have not been spared by this menace,” the group wrote in the petition to the chiefs.
The group went on to state how destruction of lands around Subri River in the vicinity of Nkroful Senior High School could end up razing part of the school to the ground.
This is because the galamsey boys were inching closer to the school with their illgal business.
Further, the group mentioned how rivers Ankobra, Subin, Tano, the Abbey Lagoon and others had been polluted beyond recognition, and the atmosphere saturated with mercury contamination, cyanide and other chemicals.
The petition continued and mentioned how places like Nkroful, Anwia and Nsuta Ahomkakrom were seeing galamsey activities right in the middle of the communities.
“Instead of refreshing rivers, there are gullies and pools of mercury and silt contaminated water, and children have drowned in gullies left uncovered by these irresponsible activities.”
The group went on in the petition to state that the lack of will power to deal with the illegitimate activity has led to perceived insincerity of the authorities in taking the right action to end the menace.
The petition, however, reminded the chiefs that “the opportunity cost of doing nothing about this current menace unleashed by Galamsey is enormous.”
The group in its petition, therefore, demanded that the chiefs to call on stakeholders to stop galamsey and all irresponsible mining practices on the lands with immediate effect.
DISEC ON GALAMSEY
Meanwhile, the Ellembelle DISEC says it is on the warpath against illegal miners which activities was causing serious environmental and social problems in the District.
The DISEC Chairman, who is also the District Chief Executive, Kwasi Bonzo, in an interview, described the re-emergence of illegal mining activities in the District after the introduction of the community mining programme as unacceptable. He has, therefore, vowed to curb the surge after an emergency DISEC meeting.
Last Monday, a team of from the DISEC went round some communities in the district and found out that tracts of lands, which hitherto had been covered by forests, were being levelled to pave way for illegal mining.
Excavators, which were used, were seized by the team.