PhD Student Disagrees Sanitation Minister's Comment On Galamsey Not Cause Of Water Pollution
A PhD student in Oceanography at the University of Cape Coast, Frederick Ekow Jonah says although rainfall can disturb the turbidity of water bodies, galamsey is a major contributor, removing the topsoil and making it easy for sediments to be washed into water bodies.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kweku Asoma Kyeremeh on Thursday attributed the pollution of water bodies to recent rains.
The minister indicated that the current state of water bodies is not as a result of illegal mining activities, popularly referred to as galamsey.
“The rains that set in today might have caused some river bodies to go close to the bad state that we found them but it is not all that bad as we saw in 2016,” he added.
But speaking on Eyewitness News Mr. Jonah said until the lands affected by illegal mining are reclaimed, sediments from the soil are forever going to be washed into the rivers.
“The turbidity of the rivers is the direct effect of galamsey. Galamsey is what has made the land upstream bare. Even though Galamsey might not be going on currently, the lands are bare, the soils are now vulnerable to being washed into the rivers. So until we reclaim those lands, until we change the land cover, which would reduce the amount of sediments that flow into the rivers during rainfall our river bodies would continue to be of this nature,” he said.
Videos and images of some water bodies across the country show the deterioration in the quality of the water despite the ban on illegal mining.
This has raised questions about the effectiveness of the anti-galamsey taskforce's fight against galamsey.
Pressure is also mounting on the government to dissolve the Inter-ministerial Committee on illegal mining, following what has largely been considered as a lost fight against illegal mining.
The latest to join numerous calls for the collapse of the government agency is the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Africa Network (ASMAN).
The safe mining advocate wants the committee to be replaced with the yet-to-be-launched Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).