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General News of Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Anti-galamsey group presents petition to National Chief Imam over galamsey activities

National Chief Imam receiving the petition from Galamsey Action Group National Chief Imam receiving the petition from Galamsey Action Group

Galamsey Action Group, an anti-galamsey group, has presented a petition to the National Chief Imam to add his voice to the call on the president, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to save Ghana from activities of illegal mining.

According to the group, the communities where these water bodies are located, “have gained little to no benefit from these resources. In the past ten years, irresponsible and illegal mining have left unspeakable devastation in our land. This level of destruction has taken on a new life of its own in the past five years.”

The group in their petition indicated that “Rivers Ankobra, Pra, Tano, Bonsa, Offin, White Volta and Juen Lagoon and others have been polluted beyond recognition. The atmosphere is saturated with mercury contamination, cyanide and other chemicals. Places like Nkroful, Telekubokazo, Awuku, Salma-Dominasi, Akango, Mempeasem, Wassa Dunkwa, Moseaso, Nzema Prestea, Nsuta Ahomkakrom and Ntobroso, (to name a few) are seeing irresponsible mining activities right in the middle of the communities. Instead of refreshing rivers, there are gullies and pools of mercury and silt contaminated water. Children and adults alike have drowned in gullies left uncovered by these irresponsible activities.

“It is an open secret that galamsey and irresponsible mining has become a normal business in Ghana today, especially for those with the right political and personal connections. The seeming lack of genuine will to act at the top has led to suspicions about the sincerity of authorities in taking the right actions to end these highly destructive activities. People who engage in these irresponsible acts in our communities seem to face no consequences whatsoever.

“We fear that unless something drastic is done to curb this menace, we will need to import water for our survival, not counting debilitating diseases that can result from prolonged mercury poisoning. The loss of arable lands for the cultivation of cocoa and other cash crops and foodstuffs will only result in untold hardship.”

The Galamsey Action Group are, therefore, demanding the following:

1. Call on all Stakeholders to stop Galamsey and all irresponsible mining practices on the land with immediate effect, starting with an announcement to our brothers and sisters in the Moslem community and indeed all Ghanaians on the harmful impacts of mercury pollution and irresponsible mining on our river bodies and our environment.

2. Support our call to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to halt all licensing for the prospecting of gold, bauxite or any other minerals in our forest reserves and within ten kilometres of ALL water bodies in Ghana

3. Support our call that all mining activities in Ghana be halted with immediate effect until a mutually acceptable and verifiably effective land reclamation and water rehabilitation program has been implemented for the areas and rivers already destroyed.

4. Require the Government of Ghana to implement, as a matter of urgency, an alternative livelihoods scheme to retrain and resettle the teeming unemployed youth who have been forced into this dangerous business that is not only mortgaging the future of our communities but also their own lives.

5. Require that the government and mining corporations/operators live up to their social responsibility under Ghana and International law to ensure any mining or industrial activities are done safely without any negative impact on the community/environment and use designated funds to improve these areas.

6. Require the Government of Ghana to show fair and transparent prosecution of all those caught breaking the law on responsible mining to give citizens confidence in the impartiality of the process.

Read below the full petition.

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