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General News of Friday, 9 September 2016


Galamsey also poses serious health threats - Chris Gordon

The Director of the Institute of Environment and Sanitation at the University of Ghana, Dr. Chris Gordon, has warned of far-reaching effects of illegal mining painting a gloomy picture of the health implications for the average Ghanaian.

Aside the obvious effects to farmlands and water bodies, Dr. Gordon highlighted the far-reaching effects of the chemicals used in illegal mining which eventually make their way into the food and water for many Ghanaians.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, he explained that, “the process of mining and the release of chemicals is not just confined to the immediate water body. All these chemicals and materials end up in the sea because our rivers drain into the sea.”

“…So apart from the impact on drinking water and on the health of people and the loss of crop lands and the destruction of cocoa farms, all these chemicals come into the sea, enter the food chain and affect our fisheries,” he added.

Dr. Gordon also lamented the long-term chronic effects of exposure to the chemicals used in the illegal mining processes like cyanide and arsenic, adding that the dust from these sites alone have serious consequences.

For some of the men exposed directly to the illegal mining activities, he indicated that their sperm mobility would be negatively hampered rendering them sterile and “for people who are drinking this water, health in their 50s and 60s, will be nothing to write home about. A decreased quality of life.”

Dr. Gordon further cited some of the effects on foodstuffs that have been observed in recent times.

Per recent assessment, “you find that you pick fish off the Ankobra River and you find that they have elevated levels of heavy metals. You will find in the Keta area, tomato leaves with dust with higher than normal levels of heavy metals. It is happening already.”

The environmentalist added that, “the miners are already affected. If you take nail clippings or a sample of hair from the people engaged in this, you will find levels of cyanide in their body which are far in excess of WHO standards.”