Illegal small-scale mining, commonly known as galamsey, poses a significant health threat to children living in affected areas, according to Prof. Paul Sampene Ossei, an Associate Professor of Pathology at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
The renowned pathologist revealed that children in Galamsey areas are prone to cognitive impairment and congenital anomalies, which are caused by drinking water contaminated with chemicals used in the mining process.
Speaking on Accra-based JoyNews' PM Express on Monday, May 22, Prof. Ossei emphasized the gravity of the situation, noting that children in Galamsey areas are born with anomalies due to the impact of the chemicals on their development.
"It is not only cognitive impairment that children from these Galamsey areas are suffering, some have congenital anomalies," he said.
“These children because of their development, are not birth naturally,” he added.
He stressed that the metals and chemicals used in Galamsey find their way into the placenta, which can cause long-term damage to the health of both mothers and their unborn children.
“Drinking water that has been contaminated with these chemicals used for the galamsey is the cause of these. Literature suggests that most of these metals are received in the placenta,” the pathologist revealed.
The situation is particularly alarming given that Galamsey activities are often carried out in close proximity to residential areas, putting entire communities at risk.
The threat of Galamsey to public health has been a major concern in Ghana in recent years, with many environmentalists, health experts, and concerned citizens calling for urgent action to address the issue.
The government has made efforts to crack down on Galamsey, but the practice remains prevalent in many parts of the country.
The revelations by Prof. Osei further emphasizes the urgent need for action to address the health risks associated with Galamsey.
It is crucial that steps are taken to prevent the contamination of water sources by the chemicals used in mining, and to ensure that affected communities have access to clean drinking water and appropriate medical care.