The Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group (GEAG) has urged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to adopt concrete steps to halt galamsey activities in the Ankobra River, especially the Gwira side of it.
According to the group, the rate at which the river Ankobra was being polluted with chemicals from galamsey activities and alluvial deposits which destroyed water bodies and affected marine species, called for urgent and immediate action from the government
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency after a visit to some communities along the River Ankobra in the Gwira area, Convenor to the Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, Madam Elizabeth Allua Vaah urged the government to rise up and take drastic measures to clamp down on the illegal miners and those mining irresponsibly in the area.
She said the presence of the galamseyers in the Ankobra River, was the cause of the constant pollution of the River, and was worried that chemicals and toxins from the galamsey menace washed into the sea at Ankobra, contaminated the sea and might poison the fish stock.
Madam Allua Vaah linked the heavy metal content of the Sargassum Seaweed which invaded the area and wondered “If the seaweeds were this polluted, how much more are the fishes that humans along the stretch are consuming on a daily basis?”
She said it was pathetic that the government seemed to be helpless in combating the galamsey menace in Ghana’s river bodies.
The Convenor also called on the NCCE and the Ghana Health Service to join the call to Ghanaians to see the broader impact of irresponsible mining on the health of the broader population.
The Assembly Member for Gwira-Dominase, Mr James Akpor condemned galamsey activities currently on-going in some communities along the River Ankobra.
He mentioned communities such as Awolezo, Amgbrazee, Duale, Betenase, Gwira-Banso and Tumandu where galamsey activities were currently underway with impunity.
According to him,the situation compelled the Western Regional Minister, Mr. Kwabena Okyere Dàrko Mensah and the galamsey task force to move to the area but could not arrest anybody because galamseyers have changed their modus operandi.
Mr Akpor explained that the galamsayers usually sank their boats in the river and went into their hide-outs any time they heard of the taskforce patrolling the river, and only resumed operations after the departure of the task force.
The Assembly Member said most of the galamseyers were operating in the night making it difficult for patrols along the river to arrest them.
Mr Akpor deplored the galamsey menace, adding that it was having a telling effect on communities in the area.
He said communities now have to buy sachet water every now and then instead of drinking from River Ankobra which had become a drain on their coffers.
Mr. Akpor said he recently mobilized a section of the youth to destroy some of the galamsey sites.
When contacted, a Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker told the GNA that “we’ve been notified and our men are on the ground to do the needful”.