How Illegal Mining Will Cost Ghana in Achieving SDG Goal 6.

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
SDGUN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Ghana was part of the 189 countries that came together in the year 2000 to face the future and brig to end Famine, Draught, Poverty, Wars, and Plagues.

Leaders from all the 189 countries with the help and support of UNDP came up with a plan that will see to them fighting these menaces by the year 2015; the plan was the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) came with 8 ambitious Goals that if fought well will make the world a better place for all countries. The Goal achievements ended in 2015 with some of the countries achieving most of the Goals.

Sustainable Development Goals.
Now going forward, after the successes chalked within the last 15 years with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), these 193 countries agreed to do more to further the dream of making the world a better place for all; so the need for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS) that seeks to eradicate hunger and poverty by the year 2030 was agreed on by the countries to take effect.

The SDGs comes with 17 Goals and its Targets with Ghana inculcating it in the National Development Agenda. Countries are to lay down programmes in order to achieve the 17 Goals by 2030.

Under Target 6.3; it states that “By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution; eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse”.

This is the Target Ghana will find difficult to achieve in 20130 if care isn’t taken.

In the Ashanti Region, I visited ObengneObeng, Yawkramokrom and Fenaso all in the Amansie Central District where most illegal Miners operating were Chinese citizens destroying Farmlands, river bodies and forest reserves.

Rivers like Fena, Dantini and Odaso are all being polluted with Mercury, making the rivers look milky and silted.
I spoke to the Chairman of a Joint Taskforce from the Amansie Central District Assembly, Mr. Simon Kwadwo Antwi who amidst anger promised to take on all illegal mining operators in the District.

River Odaso serves as the main source of drinking water for residents in the Obuasi Municipality, Bekwai Municipal, Amansie West and Amanise Central Districts. But these activities have caused the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to find it difficult treating the water bodies for consumption.

The inability of the GWCL to treat the Odaso River mostly leads to pipe water shortage in these beneficial Districts.

The water pollution story is not any different from the Upper Denkyira East and West Districts where the River Offin that flows through parts of the Central Region is been polluted day and night by Chinese and local illegal miners who use Mercury and other heavy metals.

Safe and affordable water by the year 2030 will be very difficult.

The treatment of all these water bodies comes with a high cost since the hazardous chemicals in Rivers now can’t be treated normally with the meager budget of the Ghana Water Company Limited.

The Target 6.1 also states that, by 2030, we should achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
Investigations revealed that, most of these companies try to compensate the village folks with Borehole water which a times is polluted by the chemicals in the river, but since they have no other option, they stick to that.

News just coming in from suggest that “Galamsey Could Cause Closure of 3 treatment dams. The water treatment dams are the Barekese, Daboase and Kyebi water treatment plans”

How Ghana can attain the Goal by 2030.
Ghana being part of the 193 Countries that agreed to the SDGs should as a matter of urgency roll out measures to curtail this water pollution canker before the Country starts importing safe water, which can only be patronized by the well to do.
Target 6b of the SDG 6; says “Support and strengthen participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management.
The emergence of these 17 SDGs have really come at the right time to help fight this menace.

Some community members I spoke to on whether their traditional leaders object to the illegal mining which is affecting their water bodies, they had this to say “We are even confused, they tell us they are unaware but the site owners will also tell you they sort clearance from the Chiefs or Traditional authorities”, they said.

The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) should also be supported financially to be able to treat much water as they can to help all get access to safe and affordable drinking water by 2030.
Since the 17th Goal calls for all nations to come together to achieve all the Goals; I suggest the Government of Ghana should diplomatically meet with the Chinese Government to call their citizens to order, thus respecting Ghana’s Environmental Policies and also protecting our water bodies.
The 6th Goal can only be attained by Ghana if all these stringent measures are put in place and enforced.

By Emmanuel Agyemfra Boateng

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