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General News of Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Manso Adubia streams left with chemicals and no fish after ‘galamsey’

The Manso Adubia constituency in the Ashanti Region has seen the illegal mining activities over the past few years leave the area in the alarming position of having no natural water body fit for human use.

The Member of Parliament for Manso Adubia, Yaw Frimpong Addo, had ominous words for the rest of the country as he warned that “no water body will survive this threat” of illegal mining if it is not tackled. Speaking to Citi News’ Richard Sky, Mr. Addo recounted growing up in the constituency and being able to drink from the streams in the area which have now been polluted by illegal mining activities.

“All the streams that flow into the two major rivers in the constituency; the Offin River and the Oda River, are gold bearing streams and because of that, their valleys are also full of gold,” the MP explained.

Chemical pollution of water bodies is one of the expected by-products of the illegal mining activities, which have forced a number of water treatment plants nationwide to shut down.

Mr. Addo reminded that the chemicals used to extract gold and are poisonous thus, “any river you see there or pool of water you see there; no fish can survive in it. Aquatic life is gone completely because of the chemical inflow into such streams.” Community swapping cocoa farms for galamsey pits.

The effects of illegal mining in the Manso Adubia extend to cocoa farming. In the last four years, the country’s cocoa production is has gone from 835,000 in 2013, 897,000 tonnes in 2014, 740,000 tonnes in 2015 and the increased to 840,000 tonnes in 2016.

The MP noted that cocoa production has indeed been dwindling since 2010 and in Parliament, he has maintained that the ailing cocoa production is not down to just weather patterns. “It is not only the fact that we don’t have good weather and all that. Large tracts of our cocoa farms have been removed in search of gold through galamsey activities but nobody took what I said seriously.”

“So what is happening is, all the lands in water logged areas, where they dig alluvial gold, are gone. They have decimated the land in such a way that nothing is left there… so they have moved from that level to attack the mainlands.”

“During the campaign, I observed something that made me so sad; large tracts of cocoa lands that I knew not too long ago had been destroyed in such a manner I can imagine that land can never be brought back.” Fighting illegal mining is a complex issue and Mr. Addo lamented that these complexities have been compounded by the fact land owners willing sell land off their lands with no regard for the consequences.

Era of excavators escalated epidemic Illegal mining has always existed in Manso Adubia, according to Mr. Addo and the youth who were not too keen on farming had always gravitated towards it. It’s only when heavy machinery wound its way into illegal mining that the situation as a ticking time-bomb started to wind down faster and spark the destructive nature of the small-scale gold mining in the area.