Some communities in three districts in the Ashanti Region now depend mostly on sachet water for virtually all household chores, including washing and bathing.
This is because river bodies in the area, which serve as their main source of drinking water and for other household activities, have been polluted by illegal miners.
According to officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the river bodies in the three districts, Amansie East, Amansie Central and Amansie West, had also lost their aquatic lives.
Some of the affected communities are Manso Abodom, Daatano, Manso Abore, Bonsaaso, Tontokrom, Manso Nsiena, Manso Nkran, among others where rivers such as Oda, Offin, Nwene have been badly polluted.
The Principal Programmes Officer of the EPA in the Ashanti Region, Mr Omanhene Kwaku Boateng, who made this known at a one-day sensitisation workshop on illegal mining at Manso-Nkwanta last Thursday, said the activities of illegal mining in those areas were making life much more unbearable for the people.
The water bodies have either been polluted or contaminated with various chemicals.
The programme, organised by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, brought together traditional authorities, small-scale miners, members of the affected district assemblies as well as farmers.
Mr Boateng said apart from the pollution of water bodies, illegal mining activities also affected farming and the environment.
He said although mining was important, there was the need for it to be done with the environment and the lives of the people in mind, adding that ‘mining should be done with sustainability in mind’.
Although reclamation was part of the conditions or requirements before a mining permit was given, many miners, after obtaining their documents, refused to comply with that component, bringing hardships on landowners, as well as the environment, he added.
The programmes officer said now that the operations of the various illegal miners had been halted, measures would be taken to streamline activities of the miners to bring some sanity on the environment in the various communities.
He charged the various stake-holders to ensure that they followed the right processes before embarking upon small-scale mining.
The Deputy Coordinating Director of the Amansie West District Assembly, Mr Michael Van Sowah, said the assembly was liaising with the Regional Coordinating Directorate to embark upon a massive reclamation exercise in all mined sites in the region.
That, he said, would help bring some sanity into the district which was badly affected in terms of environmental degradation, making life for the people much more unbearable.
The function was used to educate the various stakeholders on the various stages and processes involved in acquiring the right documents before venturing into small scale mining.
By Felix A. Baidoo / Daily Graphic / Ghana
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