Illegal mining is out of control, step in – Queen Mother of Nyankrom to government

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Illegal mining

Nana Akosua Gyamfiaba II, Queen Mother of Nyankrom and Acting Paramount Queen Mother, Shama Traditional Council has decried the increasing illegal mining activities in the country.

According to Nana Gyamfiaba II, illegal mining was getting out of hand and urged the government to intervene to save water bodies.

She noted that illegal mining was not only destroying water bodies, but destroying farmlands, plant species and buffer zones.

Nana Gyamfiaba II was speaking at the 14th Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) Annual Natural Resources and Environment Review Forum 2023 held in Accra.

The forum was under the theme: “Enhancing the integration of sustainable National Resource and Environment Priorities in Ghana’s Development Frameworks: Critical issues by CSOs for State Agencies and Political Actors.”

The forum organised by Kasa Initiative Ghana, aims at promoting the reflection of Key Natural Resources and Environment (NRE) issues in political manifestos towards 2024.

Kasa Initiative Ghana is a NRE platform that works with over 500 Civil Society partners to support participatory environmental and natural resource governance.

Nana Gyamfiaba appealed to the government to repeal LI 2462 to ensure that mining activities in all forest reserves are prohibited.

According to her, mining activities had serious bearing on the health of the people adding use of mercury in mining was affecting fertility (menstruation) and childbirth.

Dr Mary Ewusi Deputy Director Interparty/ CSOs Organisation, National Democratic Congress (NDC) said a sustainable Natural resource environment involved the management of natural resources such as land, water, soil and plants and animals.

“It deals with managing the way in which people and natural landscapes interact and it also brings together land using planning, water management and biodiversity conservation and the future sustainability of the future industries such as agriculture, mining, tourism, fisheries and forestry.

According to her, natural resources provide all important basic human existences and human activities.

Dr Ewusi said the relevance of natural resources demand that the country ought to take critical steps should be taken to educate the citizens on managing resources in a sustainable way

“It is therefore imperative to create awareness of the physical environment and develop people’s knowledge and skills and their capacity to manage and protect these resources.”

Dr Ewusi noted that Ghana as a country faced many challenges such as securing energy and fuel supply, creating jobs and income, tackling the threats of climate change and floods among others.

She said tackling these challenges required fresh ideas, radical new ways of thinking and doing things.

“These include how we maintain, improve and use our natural resources. A poorly managed environment increases the long-term risk of our well-being and makes challenges worse.

A healthy and resilient environment helps sustain people and our economy. We need to look for ways that our natural resources can provide multiple benefits for people and nature,” she added.

Dr Ewusi said when the environment works at its best, society as a whole thrives.

She said the NDC has prioritised the environmental issues in their campaign document.

According to her the party has a strong commitment to prioritise environmental management by reducing deforestation and increasing afforestation.

Dr Ewusi said illegal mining (galamsey) has destroyed Ghana’s forest reserve to the extent that cocoa trees were being cut down for people to engage in illegal mining.

She said the NDC government would increase the private sector participation, CSOs, communities and individuals in reforestation.

According to her the party would increase forest reserve patrols and enforcement activities in some critical areas.

She said the party intends to be done through intense staff training.

Mr Albert Kataka said mining in forest reserves should not be entertained adding if care was not taken the country would lose all its forest reserves.

Mr Jonathan Gokah, Coordinator, Kasa Initiative Ghana, said his organisation has decided to hold continuous discussions with political parties on issues concerning natural resources management.

Mr Gokah said Kasa Initiative Ghana seeks to finetune policies of political parties within their manifestoes and draft official communiques for state agencies and ministries in NRE issues.

Mr Gokah said his organisation as a next step would like to engage political parties one on one on issues of environment and natural resources.

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