Pressure group OccupyGhana has observed that there is no “conceivable justification” for illegal mining to persist in Ghana.
To that end, the group has called on government to “stop, prevent and then regulate all currently unlicensed and unregulated mining, explore the provision of gainful, alternative employment to persons engaged in galamsey, support mass education on the galamsey menace, particularly through local civil society, and be mindful of the potential national security threat that galamsey poses”.
OccupyGhana, in a statement dated March 30, predicted doom for the country if ‘galamsey’ is not brought under control.
According to them, a team they sent to Tarkwa to study galamsey activities in October 2016 in their report “paints a dire picture of the dangerous mix of a vibrant ‘Galamsey Economy’ that exists unrestrained and unchecked and in blatant disregard of the law, a huge industry organised through collusive effort between chiefs, other influential people in society such as politicians, law enforcement officers, farmers and the unemployed (now financed and equipped by Chinese operators and their Ghanaian front-men or competitors).”
OccupyGhana noted that the ruthless excavation of riverbeds and farms in the search for gold, the ruin of large rivers and streams, lakes and other water bodies, the creation of gaping holes and concealed residue of mining activity left behind as death-traps, chemical residue that poison the earth and water, and the severe health challenges caused by galamsey to its actors and others means the country is not only being cursed with a future of thirst but also exposure to cancerous diseases caused by the consumption of food grown on toxic land.
“Before our very eyes, we are seeing a time bomb that is waiting to explode – the desertification, deforestation and degradation of our land, erosion, pollution of rivers and other water bodies, and poor waste management. This cannot be allowed to continue for even a day more,” it added.
To create awareness on the menace of galamsey, OccupyGhana has declared the entire month of April as #RedApril.
“Let us then observe each Friday in April as a #RedFriday and wear some red apparel to reflect the sorry, new colour of our hitherto pristine water bodies, caused by ‘galamsey’ and as an optical and visual reminder to the government that ‘our eyes are red’ in our demand for immediate steps to reverse this trend,” it added.