‘Galamsey’ fight on course
Illegal mining, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’, affects many areas of life, both negatively and positively.
But the huge social, environmental and ecological problems it has caused has made its positive aspect, which is basically economic, sink into oblivion.
Galamsey has come to connote everything bad for the country.
The effects it has had on the environment include loss of biodiversity and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water.
In fact, the negative impact of the practice is mind-boggling.
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It is against this backdrop that the government, with the tacit support of many patriotic and well-meaning citizens, civil society organisations and the media, launched a campaign to sanitise the mining sector about two years ago.
Much has been achieved over the period. The turbid nature of the rivers in which illegal mining was done has improved tremendously.
Some of the rivers which served as intake points for the Ghana Water Company Limited but which had been abandoned by the company because the water became impossible to treat, are now being treated for consumption.
These achievements have been attained at a very high cost to the country in terms of human and material resources.
But within these achievements are very damning allegations of complicity by some officials to torpedo the gains made.
The Daily Graphic is pleased to note that already investigations are underway to establish the facts to inform any further action.
We highly commend the government for its commitment to the fight against illegal mining.
We conclude without any equivocation that whatever action this government has taken to deal with the menace is an attestation to the fact that it is bent on ending this destructive activity once and for all, although there may be some individuals who would want to take advantage of the situation for their selfish interests.
But, as we also reason, it is obvious the government is not oblivious to the fact that more needs to be done to seal any loopholes that would tend to derail the effort to end the illegal mining canker.
We learn that the Cabinet has, in a further effort to tighten the hold on the successes chalked up so far and build on them, imposed a ban on the importation of excavators.
This ban is to be in place until further notice. Ghanaians are witnesses to the devastation that these excavators have caused to the environment in their use in illegal mining activities.
This is coupled with the fact that the miners also fail to reclaim the land after their activities.
The Daily Graphic thinks the ban is in the right direction. Our concern rather is that it is not only illegal miners who use excavators.
Areas such as road construction and quarries also depend on these machines.
It is in the light of this that we entreat the Cabinet to put measures in place so that others who use such excavators in their work will not suffer unduly from this ban.
We are also excited that allocation for compensation and personal emoluments of the Minerals Commission has been more than doubled in order to motivate them to work harder and obviously eschew any influence of corruption.
Our appeal to officials on duty is that they should be sincere to themselves and to the nation and work to help win the war against illegal mining.
Certainly, a section of society will be affected by the latest decision by the Cabinet, but we appeal to all to exercise patience and offer our support to see to the end of galamsey for the benefit of all and posterity.