A deputy Justice Minister-designate has said illegal mining known as galamsey is akin to committing mass murder and must be “completely” banned.
Joseph Dindiok Kpemka told Parliament’s Appointments Committee Wednesday “we are on our way to commit mass murder if we drink the polluted water.”
He said it was time a moratorium on illegal mining was put in place by the appropriate regulators to enable an audit of destruction caused the environment by the illegal miners.
Ghana is losing its natural vegetation and river bodies to the destructive activities of illegal miners, a development experts have described as worrying.
Some Ghanaians and their Chinese counterparts encroach on farm lands in their search for gold, bauxite and diamond. These people go to the extent of mining in river bodies and on river banks.
The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years due to these human activities. Also, the Ankobrah River in the Western Region has been muddied through illegal mining, polluting the source of water for residents.
Ghana Water Company officials have cautioned the country risks importing water from its neighbours if the current destruction by illegal miners continues.
The development has generated huge debate with some Ghanaians calling on the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government to end the practice.
Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu, has issued a three-week ultimatum to illegal miners across the country to stop their activities else risk punishment if they are apprehended.
He met the Chinese Ambassador, Sun Baohong, to discuss with her how she could discourage people from her country from engaging in the illicit business.
Mr Dindiok Kpemka who speaks with “passion” on issues of galamsey activities said there is the need for “some ban, a complete ban” on illegal mining to enable the restructuring of the system.
He said he was disturbed when he saw pictures of a river taken some 20 years ago compared to another photograph of the same river taken last month. “Looking at the gravity we need to put some safety measures in place.”