Prestea (W/R) May 12,- GNA- Mrs Cecilia Bannerman, Minister of Mines has called on Ghanaians to work together and stop activities that degrade the environment and water sources.
She said the environmental degradation, mercury pollution, health hazards and socio-economic problems created as a result of human activities, could be reversed if all forms of economic activities are pursued through appropriate strategies.
Mrs Bannerman said these at the commissioning of the Nine point two billion cedis Prestea Water and Sanitation project at Prestea over the weekend.
The projects were undertaken as part of recommendations of the Environmental Impact Assessment carried out by the government at the Prestea Mine.
She said "galamsey" operations within the Prestea town, areas that are out of bounds, and on some concessions of mining companies, was a major concern of the government.
Mrs Bannerman said to address the situation, the Ministry would support organised galamsey operators in Prestea, to have access to portions of some mining companies to be used for their activities. She said all such operators would be licensed and regulated, while technical support would be provided, to enable them to work in an environmentally sustainable manner.
The Minister of Mines said the Nordic Development Fund (NDF), provided financial assistance for the provision of water and sanitation facilities in Prestea.
She said the project, was meant to rehabilitate and improve water supply and sanitation systems in the heavily polluted areas of Prestea. Mrs Bannerman said the project, which started in 1999, was handed over to the government in March 2004.
She said the Mine, which was formally State Gold Mining Corporation, paid little attention too the environment and thereby, created environmental problems for the people of Prestea and some surrounding communities.
Mr. Bernard N. A. Aryee, Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission said consultancy and the design phase of the project cost 450,000 United States Dollars while the actual cost of the projects is 9.2 billion cedis.
He said the projects include construction and rehabilitation of 12 toilets, provision of nine water storage facilities; three water pumping sub-stations and 14 kilometres network of transmission and distribution lines.
Mr. Aryee, in commended NDF for funding the projects and said conditions attached to development aid, apart from compromising quality, had outlived their usefulness.
Mr. Joseph B. Aidoo, Western Regional Minister said many years of neglect has led to the once beautiful and pleasant mining towns to become ugly ragged and deprived.
He said apart from Prestea, Konongo, Tarkwa, Bibiani and Obuasi are facing similar fates out of neglect.
Mr. Aidoo stressed that the provision of water and an improved sanitation constitutes an integral part of the health care delivery system and all Ghanaians must ensure that such facilities are properly protected.
The Regional Minister urged the township to assist women, children, the aged, poor and physically impaired, to have easy access to the projects to improve their health.
Mr. Emmanuel K. Ayensu, District Chief Executive for Wassa West said water and sanitation had been a major challenge to the development of the district.
He said through mining activities in the district, several surface water bodies have been polluted and this had affected the health status of the entire citizenry.