The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Dr. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has donated American type of boat worth $56,000 with two plastic canoes and life jackets to serve the people of Amanda, a farming/mining community in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti region and it surrounding areas.
The boat is a very solid ship grade metal with 150 horsepower engine.
According to him, it is in the interest and the good of humans to embrace sustainable practices to survive.
He revealed that, somewhere in 2017, people, including a one-year-old toddler, drowned in River Offin in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region.
Adding that the victims who were farmers were using a canoe to the other side of the river when it capsized because the river was not desilted and was very muddy because of the illegal mining activities which were ongoing in the area.
He announced that, though seven of the victims were rescued with the rest including the toddler trapped in the river, the was the need to take quick response to the incident.
"I was then directed by the president of the republic, Nana Addo Dankwah Akufo Addo, as the minister responsible for environment to find pragmatic measures to fight the menace.'
Prof.Frimpong Boateng, however, indicated, his ministry together with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ghana National Association Of Small Scall Miners(GNASSM) taskforce took it upon themselves desilted the Offin river in order for boats and canoes to have easy access to ply the river without any hindrance.
He deduced that, after the river had been cleared for easy means of transport, the was the need for him to fulfil a promise he made to purchase a high standard of boat for the said community to travel with ease.
Prof.Frimpong Boateng made this known when he officially handed over the items to the community at a colourful ceremony.
He further indicated, two of the solid ship metal grade type of boat will Soon be in to encourage river means of transport in the country.
"The Nana led government is working on the clock to ensure river means of transport in the country and very soon Ghanaians will be travelling by river as we have road, rail, sea and air transport in the country."
Prof.Frimpong Boateng noted, the survival of humans was dependent on the ecosystem and called for a stop to the exploitation of natural resources through activities including, deforestation, mining, plastic pollution, electronic waste and unsustainable agriculture practices.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Mike Gizo, member of the Ghana National Association Of Small Scale Miners made it known that the association will still fight unscrupulous illegal miners on the river bodies.
According to him, because the river bodies were choked with unwanted materials they find it difficult to fight them on the water bodies but now that the river bodies have been desilted, with life jackets provided and with the help of boats they are going to fight them boot for boot without fear or favour on the various rivers we have in the country.
He, however, thanked Prof.Frimpong Boateng to the supporting he has been giving to the small scale miners association.
Source: Ayisah Foster, Contractor