Mr Edward Laabir, the District Chief Executive for Wa West in Upper West Region has said that poor road network within the District obstructs monitoring of galamsey operations, thereby, not helping to sustain the fight.
Following the ban on Galamsey by the District Security Committee (DISEC), he said, several attempts have been made to monitor galamsey sites in the District but inadequate logistics and personnel including: ‘the poor road network impede monitoring operations in the District.’
Mr Laabir was speaking in Wechau during a Town Hall Meeting organised by Media Coalition Against Galamsey on the theme: ‘#StopGalamsey: Ways to ensure Sustainable small scale Mining for Development of Ghana.’
‘The Police Service in the District had only one vehicle which unfortunately was recently involved in an accident. Two motor bikes were also procured for the Service but that is woefully inadequate due to the large size of the district.’
Illegal mining has received a lot of attention over the years and with wide public knowledge of its negative effects, the Wa West District Assembly through the DISEC, banned the galamsey operations and felling of rosewood.
The DCE explained that there was an emergence of illegal mining operations in Joleyiri in the Tanina electoral area of the District where their operations were becoming more devastating and could not be allowed to continue.
‘Within a matter of four days of operation, an area of about 10 hectors was cleared by illegal miners numbering about 1,500,’ he added.
In view of the serious nature of the unlawful activities, Mr Laabir said, the DISEC collaborated with the Regional Security Council and a joint operation comprising of the military, Police and Immigration Services in April 2016 were formed to flush out the illegal miners.
He said the team had so far arrested 31 people out of which 13 were foreigners, and warned that the District would continue to work with the limited logistics to flush out perpetrators.
He added that some traditional authorities and assembly members have been ‘educated’ and tasked to monitor to report about galamsey operations in their communities to the DISEC, but their activities had been hampered by poor logistics and bad road networks.
‘We are currently monitoring galamsey sites at Polee, Eggu, Oli, Maayeyire and Boodia-Baa and we have assured them that anyone found guilty in such acts including our traditional rulers would be made to face full rigors of the law.’
Dr Anthony A. Duah, Senior Research Scientist at CSIR-Water Research Institute warned of the devastating effects on education and water bodies which could deprive several generations of their livelihood if nothing concrete was done to protect Ghana’s environment.
He said many Ghanaian children have now abandoned school to engage in illegal mining activities while many water bodies have also been destroyed due to toxic chemicals used by the miners.