Stop Galamsey devastation in Rural Ghana
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My name is Elizabeth Allua Vaah. I am an author and a financial analyst. I grew up by the serene Amanzule river, in a small Ghanaian village called Aakonu (Bakanta) which I write about in my book, Maame. River Amanzule was a source of sustenance and refreshment for my entire village. We fished for fish, crabs and periwinkle snails from it, we bathed in it, played in it and drank from it. We were refreshed daily from the life that thrived in it.
Unfortunately, unlike me, children in some areas of Ghana have been deprived of this beautiful connection with the bodies of water around them. #Galamsey (illegal mining and reckless mining practices ) by Politically connected Ghanaians and rogue Chinese nationals protected by some members of the Ghana Armed Forces, greedy Chiefs and unemployed local men and women have devastated entire virgin forests and water bodies.
Today, Ghanaian children living along rivers #Pra, #Ankobra, #Tano, #Birim, #Offin and many others, including #AbbeyLagoon along the Ghana – Cote D'Ivoire border (Jomoro District) cannot enjoy this experience. Instead, hundreds of excavators have turned these rivers and thousands of hectares of virgin forest upside down.
Instead of refreshing rivers there are gullies and pools of mercury and silt contaminated water. Entire villages have been dug up leaving gullies. Scores of beautiful water bodies and thousands of hectares of virgin forests have been plundered. These lagoons, rivers, lakes are near death and stagnation from mercury and silt pollution. Children have drowned in gullies left uncovered by these activities.
The destruction over the past 10 years show that unless something drastic is done, there will be devastating consequences in the affected areas (about a 3rd of Ghana's land mass). We will need to import water, not counting debilitating diseases that can result from prolonged mercury poisoning, loss of arable land for the cultivation of cocoa and other cash crops and foodstuffs.
The opportunity cost of doing nothing about this current mayhem unleashed by #Galamsey is enormous.
The Government and People of Ghana seem helpless, and our land and our children are dying. Four hundred years ago our ancestors were complicit in selling off our brothers and sisters into slavery. We cannot be that generation. We must save our land. We can't stand unconcerned anymore.
WE DEMAND THAT:
- The Decision makers mentioned above, led by the Government of Ghana, halt, as a matter of urgency, the importation of excavators and Chamfans (used in prospecting for Gold in rivers) into Ghana.
- The Government of Ghana halts all licensing for the prospecting of gold, bauxite or any other minerals in forest reserves and within twenty kilometers of water bodies in all parts of the country.
- All mining activities in or near bodies of water and forest reserves be halted with immediate effect.
- All current mining license holders present their land reclamation plans to an independently created body made up of professionals in land reclamation and mining. That the said plans be published in widely read media outlets and be available for review and inspection by CSOs and interested bodies.
- The Government of Ghana, with support from development partners, implements, as a matter of urgency, an alternative livelihoods scheme to retrain and resettle the teeming unemployed youth who have been forced into this dangerous business that is not only mortgaging our country's future but rather their own lives as well.
- The Ministry of information, the Ghana National Council for Civic Education and similar bodies, embark on rigorous education on the health impacts of #Galamsey.
- The President, his Government, with oversight from Parliament of Ghana prepares and implements a comprehensive plan for the reclamation and rehabilitation of all the rivers, lagoons and land that have been destroyed by Galamsey.
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