Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) have blamed politicians and state regulators in the mining sector for being responsible for the in the country.
The CSOs alleged that some politicians, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) and the Minerals Commission were often offered enticing packages including scholarships from foreign mining companies and this made them to compromise the mining and mineral laws.
They made the allegation at a two-day workshop in Bolgatanga.
The training workshop was organized by WACAM Ghana and the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA) and was sponsored by IBIIS ?Ghana.
It brought together CSOs from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions, the Forestry Commission, the district assemblies, the Water Resource Commission, security agencies and the media.
It was aimed at building the capacity of the participants on the mining and minerals laws of Ghana and the ECOWAS Directive Principles of Mining as well as the health, environment and the economic hazards of mining.
WACAM is a human rights and environmental mining advocacy organisation that works with mining communities to develop the capacity of affected people to struggle against the negative effects of mining.
The attitude of politicians and the mining regulators, they said, was not only causing havoc to the mining communities but also destroying the environment.
The CSOs said there were many mining companies which were mining without the Environmental Impact Assessment document which was supposed to be issued by the EPA.
This has brought about lack of order and poor monitoring leading to careless use of chemicals, mercury and cyanide that pollute water sources.
They attributed the outbreak of many diseases in mining communities and its environs to irresponsible mining and urged politicians and the mining regulators to do the right thing to protect the environment.
Mrs Hannah-Owusu Koranteng, the Associate Director of WACAM, expressed regret that most of the country?s forest reserves were being given to foreign mining companies.
She said, ?No Company can enter into a community to mine without its Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) it is an internationally accepted principle which protects the rights of indigenous people?.
She said many communities had the power to use this principle to stop companies from mining in their communities even after the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) had been done by the EPA.