UPROOT GALAMSEY TO SAVE OUR WATER BODIES.
A nursery rhyme sings of ‘water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” Ghana is washed by several rivers and streams. It is one country in Africa, where water is abundant to supply the whole population and beyond. Yet, there is perennial water shortages in many communities. In the dry season especially, water shortages reach acute levels.
This situation has been worsened by illegal small scale miners, known in the local parlance as galamsey. As you read this piece, almost all rivers in Ghana are polluted, to the extent that experts are predicting a complete shortage of potable water within the next 10 years. What this means is that this nation would have to import fresh water to meet the demands of the people within the next 10 years.
It is a very worrying situation. As the World marked World Water Day yesterday, The Chronicle is inviting state and local authorities to do something drastic, very soon, to avert the situation where we would have to resort to the importation of fresh water. The situation is dire.
The heavy pollution of water bodies is impacting negatively on the water supply situation throughout the country. We are told that the Ghana Water Company Limited has been forced by pollution to shut down its operations in many mining communities. At the moment, its treatment plant at Odaso has been suspended, seriously undermining the delivery of potable water to Obuasi, the richest single gold mine in the world.
Conservative estimates indicate that the Central Government would have to fork out a whopping US$250 million to reclaim land and water bodies destroyed by galamsey operators in the Western Region.
It is common knowledge that galamsey operators are putting the Atiwa Forest in the Eastern Region under threat. The Atiwa Forest is the water table from where three major rivers in Ghana – Birim, Densu and Ayensu – take their source. These three rivers provide water for an estimated five million population in the Eastern and Central regions, as well as the Western parts of Accra, the national capital.
Unfortunately, these are not the only rivers under threat. Almost all this nation’s major rivers – Tano, Ankobra, Pra and Oti – have been so seriously polluted that marine life, which used to be abundant in these rivers, are struggling to exist in them. Even the almighty Volta River is under siege from galamsey operators along the Black Volta, near the Bui Dam Project site in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Gold is supposed to give riches to this society. Instead, it is turning out to be a curse, and something drastic ought to be done quickly to save this nation and its people. The new Minister of Lands and Mineral Resources, Mr. Peter Amewu, is talking tough. He is insinuating that the central government would descend on the illegal miners very soon.
The Chronicle is inviting the Minister and the government to walk the talk. Galamsey is destroying this society. The irony is that most of those polluting our rivers and water bodies are not even Ghanaians. In the Amansie area in the Ashanti Region, for instance, Chinese have invaded the galamsey illegal trade and are pouring mercury and cynide, both very dangerous chemicals, into our water bodies, while the authorities sit aloof.
Illegal mining is not only degrading the land and water bodies, it is destroying the natural habitat for birds, animals and reptiles that are native to this society, while denying migrating birds and animals their natural grounds for co-habitation.
As we reflect on the World Water day yesterday, The Chronicle is inviting all and sundry to help salvage our water bodies. Mining apart, the Ghanaian has contrived to destroy all that is beautiful about our water bodies. Rivers, lagoons and other water bodies, which used to support marine life, have ceased to play their natural role anymore, because of human activities.
For the education of the ordinary Ghanaian, the International Water Day was instituted by the United Nations, following the Environment and Development Summit in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, in 1992. The UN designated every March 22 as World Water Day in 1993.
It was the United Nations response to acute shortages of potable water throughout the world. The UN estimates that 663 million, 1 in 10 of the population of the world, lack access to potable water. Thirty-three percent, 2.4 billion people, do not have access to adequate sanitation. Ninety-seven percent of water in the world is classified as salty, and otherwise undrinkable.
In other words, water is a scarce commodity all over the globe. That is reason for us to safeguard the sources of water that is abundant in this country. We owe it a duty to uproot galamsey and save our water bodies.
BY: GHANAIAN CHRONICLE.
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