By Veronica Nyamekye
A civil society group, Save The Nation For Future Leaders, has appealed to Government to declare mining an illegal activity to save the nation, its waters, land, green cover and fauna from any further degradation and to preserve it for for future generations.
The group suggested that, the government must concentrate on agricultural production, especially cocoa and other cash crops, to get the needed foreign exchange and revenue for national development.
Making the appeal at a news conference at Parliament House in Accra, the group hinted on the ineffectiveness of the activities of Operation Vanguard, a Police-Military Joint Task Force (JTF) set up by the President in 2017 to combat the operations of illegal miners known as “galamsey” in Ghana. They further asked government to make the Task Force render accounts for its activities.
“Galamseyers” are illegal miners and have over the years depleted Ghana’s forest cover. Their activities also pollute water bodies due to the crude and unregulated nature of the mining process” Mr Kwadwo Atta Apeakorang, Founder and President of Save the Nation for Future Leaders said.
Mr. Apeakorang, who is also a resident of Akyem Adasawasi, in the Atiwa East Constituency said there were some illegal miners, without licenses who were still engaging in mining in the area.
He added that the water in the Birim River was polluted to the extent that it could not be used for washing; and cautioned that continuous pollution of water courses that ended in the Volta Lake, the largest water body in Ghana would eventually pollute the lake, and add to the cost of treating the water to make it potable.
Ghana, he said would in the long-run import drinking water at exorbitant prices, and the degraded land can also not be reclaimed, he predicted.
On Operation Vanguard, Mr Apeakorang accused some of the members of the Task Force of conniving with illegal miners to frustrate the good intentions of the President.
Mr Apeakorang challenged the touted benefits of mining in the face of environmental degradation, cost of anti-illegal mining equipment and machines, and social costs in terms of teenage pregnancy and high level of drug abuse and soaring levels of criminal activities in mining communities.
He angrily called for a “shoot and kill” legislation to deal with anyone found to be engaged in illegal mining.
According to him, let’s Save the Nation for Future Leaders civil society group had petitioned the Office of the President, the Office of Parliament, the Office of the Inspector General of Police and other government agencies on the matter.
He said after two weeks, if the group did not hear any satisfying response from the offices it would organize a massive demonstration for mining to be declared illegal in Ghana.