Environmental Scientist at the Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS) at the University of Ghana, Professor Chris Gordon has revealed that illegal mining activities in the country have escalated to semi-industrial and industrial scale.
Speaking on JoyNews Saturday, Prof. Gordon revealed that following the use of mechanized equipment, “the illegal mining that is taking place is no longer small scale.”
“It is not the man with his shovel.. We are talking about semi-industral and industrial scale mining,” he told Newsfile host, Samson Lardy Anyenini.
According to him, the lack of education coupled with the absence of women during dialogue to eradicate illegal mining also known as “galamsey” has contributed to challenges faced by the government in ridding the country of the menace.
Therefore, encouraging women’s involvement during events to brainstorm ideas would save the country millions of cedis lost to galamsey.
“If people knew what galamsey is doing to us in real terms, in terms of our fertility, birth effects [they would reconsider their actions]… We know right now that the chemicals are causing a generational shift in fertility of men to the extent that male genital size is shrinking…If the women can be educated because most of the dialogue tends to focus more on the men. But if the women know what the real issues are, we will have a change,” he noted.
His concerns follow a three-day national consultative forum held by the government under the auspices of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
At the end of the event, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor pledged to enhance the capacity of the Minerals Commission to enable it enforce the laws.
Meanwhile, Professor Chris Gordon has named the lack of love for country and the presence of greed as some root causes of illegal mining.
He pointed out that matters regarding the use of the environment have been enshrined in the constitution, however, these laws he says are not being adhered to.
“The point made about illegal mining taking place in traditional authority areas and nobody seems to know anything about it is unbelievable…it is greed – simple undisguised greed,” he added.
For Professor Gordon, the best way to solve the issue of galamsey is to engage persons and authorities closest to the menace, starting from the district levels.
“This has to go down to the district levels. It is the district that must control this because of the traditional authorities who need to be part of how these things are run.. Yes, you have a national plan of action, you can have a national consensus but when things are happening on the ground, you deal with the people who are closest to the problem if you want it solved,” he said.
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