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Opinions of Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Columnist: Kirt Bromley

Galamsey is remains a serious health threat in Ghana

Photo was taken by the author:  Excavator for mining Photo was taken by the author: Excavator for mining

Illegal mining, better known as "galamsey", remains a very serious health threat to Ghanaians. The effects of the chemicals used in processing the gold, such as arsenic and mercury, are well documented. Mental retardation, birth defects and death are frequent consequences of drinking water from streams and rivers polluted by mining sites.

Mining companies, which have been registered and monitored by the government of Ghana, go to great expense and care in preventing pollutants from entering local rivers. Unfortunately, the galamsey sites use local streams to wash the minerals and so poison local populations. It seems that local politicians and chiefs do nothing to stop this practice.

My wife and I were on a four mile hike for exercise this morning. We started near Akoko, E/R which is just a few miles southeast of Bunso Junction on the Accra-Kumasi Road. The actual road we were on is the road that passes through Akoko and then goes over the mountain and down to Kyebi, E/R. As we walked, we encountered the sound of heavy machinery.

It was at a point 2 kilometers into the road from Akoko to Kyebi. I took the photographs which are attached. We saw the machinery with the shovel, and then an elevated sluiceway. Since there is a stream where the machinery is working, it is likely that it will be polluted by the processing of the gold.

The nearness of the town of Akoko means that the population is at risk of being poisoned. To whom can illegal activities be reported? Can local officials be so blind as to not be aware of what is going on so close to a town?

It seems this is where a free press comes to the rescue of the public welfare. I hope this article will lead to some resolution of the problem.