The Chinese diplomatic mission in Ghana has pledged its support to government to help in the fight against illegal mining popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’ involving some of its nationals.
Hundreds of Chinese migrants have been rounded up for their roles in perpetuating illegal mining and in the process polluting the country’s water bodies.
A delegation from the Embassy made this known when they spoke to the Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu, during a meeting.
Officials of the Ghana Water Company have warned that the country risks importing water for consumption unless illegal mining activities stop.
According to the Accra West Regional Director of the Ghana Water Company, Ing Peter Deveer, galamsey has badly polluted water bodies in the country resulting in an excessive increase in the cost of water treatment.
Mr. Deveer was speaking on the sidelines of a community dialogue programme at Chorkor in Accra to celebrate World Water Day.
“Today, there are over 663 million people worldwide living without safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources and coping with the health implications of using contaminated water,” he said.
Citing a report on the spate of water pollution in the country, Ing Deveer told Joy News, “the rate at which things are going we could be importing water in the next ten to 20 years.”
Meanwhile, researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) have said Ghana has no problem with water sources, however, potable water sources are diminishing at such a fast rate that the country faces a looming water crisis by the year 2030 if the current conditions continue to persist.
The Chinese diplomatic mission promised to engage government and their nationals to respect Ghana’s laws and advise them to engage in other businesses other than galamsey.
Mr Amewu said government would crack the whip on both local and foreign galamsey operators with stiffer punishment.
“A new mining law, which is an amendment to the mining law we have has introduced stiffer punishment. Foreigners, for instance, can go and make a payment between 30,000 and 300,000 penalty units. That is huge and this should be deterring,” he said.
He believes for the right application of the law all stakeholders must work together.
In a related development, the police in Takoradi in the Western region arrested and placed before court five Chinese and Ghanaians for their engagement in illegal mining activities.