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17.03.2009 General News

'Galamsey' pollutes River Birem

By myjoyonline
'Galamsey' pollutes River Birem

An illegal mining activity along the Birem River in the East Akim municipality in the Eastern Region is making the river unsafe for domestic purposes.

The chief of Bunso, Barima Adjabeng Nti II, told he Times at Bunso that the river, which is the only source of water for drinking and other domestic activities in the area was gradually becoming a death trap because of the operations of the miners in some parts of the river.

Barima Nti said that certain traditional species of fish which the Akyem communities sometimes prided themselves with were also dying gradually because of the use of chemicals in the operations of the miners.

He mentioned the communities affected by the operations of the galamsey activities as: Adukrom, Segyimaase, Fisher, Bunso and Osino.

He said that River Akusu, a tributary of the Birem River which passes through Saaman and Juaso had also been affected and many people had been complaining of severe stomach ache and headaches nowadays in the area.

The Chief of Bunso also accused a new mining company called Atagold which has recently been operating in the area of not assisting to stop the activities of the illegal miners but was rather contributing to the pollution of the river.

Barima Nti, therefore, appealed to the government, through the East Akim District Assembly and other water related agencies, to assist to stop the miners from polluting the river to avoid any outbreak of diseases or deaths.

When the Times interviewed some of the community members, Mr. Atta Boampong, a businessman, said that the river sometimes became dirty so he started investigating the cause, until last year when the source of the pollution was detected by some of the people living along the river banks.

He said that the case was reported to the East Akim Municipal Assembly, but nothing had been done about it. The youth in the area are planning to go on a peaceful demonstration to protest against the activities of the mining company and the galamsey operators.

He said. an orange seller who mentioned her name as Mama Cee, also said that her two daughters had started complaining of stomach ache, headache and sometimes they are unable to attend classes.

Mama Cee also called on the Friends of Rivers to rescue them and their children from death. ”We are too young to die”, hesaid. Mr.Kwame Asumadu, a trader, appealed to the government as a matter of urgency to rescue the residents along the banks of

River Birem from being infected of any strange diseases.
He said sometimes it takes about three weeks before they could get clean water to use in their homes.

A source at the Osino, Anyinam and Bunso water treatment sites, said that the pollution of the river is causing a great harm to the people and especially, loss of revenue to the state.

The source said that sometimes, the river becomes dirty to the extent that they have to use more chemicals to treat the water before they could distribute to the people.

Credit: Times