Illegal gold miners in the Ashanti Region have taken over the country’s forest reserves in the area, causing massive deforestation and destruction of water bodies, the regional minister has stated.
Peter Anarfi said the activities of illegal miners, popularly known as galamsey operators, had reached the state of lawlessness, with the perpetrators conducting their operations with impunity.
In an interaction with members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry in Kumasi, the regional minister called for stringent laws against galamsey, indicating that his heart continuously bleeds at the sight of the level of destruction caused by galamsey operators.
He also noted that chainsaw operation is also wreaking havoc on the environment, particularly on the nation’s forest reserves which keep on dwindling by the day.
‘Sorry for my lamentations this morning, but my heart bleeds on the sighting of the destruction to our water bodies and the forest to our own detriment. We can’t allow these activities to keep going on; and with your presence here, I want you [referring to the MPs] to take keen interest in order to deal with these menaces,’ he implored.
The regional minister said his outfit was working seriously to bring the situation under control, but was quick to point out that the remedies lie in stringent laws and their enforcement.
For him, the intensity of the destruction, coupled with the dangers associated with it, demanded urgent attention and quick-fixing solutions to save the environment, pledging his commitment to fighting galamsey and chainsaw operation.
On his part, Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, Stephen Bonsu, assured the Ashanti Regional Minister of the MPs’ support to fight the menace.
He told their host the MPs had come to the region as part of their duty tour to familiarise themselves with the Public-Private Partnership Afforestation Project of the Forestry Commission at Akomadan to recover the lost forest.
‘We plan to visit Goaso, Atebubu and other communities in the Brong-Ahafo Region to see for ourselves the ongoing plantation programme, challenges and effect,’ the MP for Kintampo explained.
According to him, the 18-member committee has four permanent staff and two national service persons assisting the committee to work effectively.
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