The country is presently dealing with a humanitarian emergency situation at Nsuta in the Western Region where about 14 illegal miners are feared to have been killed underneath the “belly” of the earth.
For this to have happened at a time when there is an ongoing campaign to flush out galamsey operators is quite unfortunate, to say the least.
The death of these illegal miners, who met their death while carrying out an illegality, must spur us on in the fight against galamsey.
The convener of the steering committee of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Mr Ken Ashigbey, has always stated that there must be some ‘big’ Ghanaians behind the galamsey operations in the country and urged the media to unmask them if the fight must yield positive results.
It is a fact that the media campaign and the efforts by the government to expose galamsey operators have yielded some results, but there is more to be done to break the back of those behind the illegal business.
We are told that gradually our water bodies that were contaminated are regaining their sanity and that the turbidity is improving, reducing the cost of treating raw water into potable water by the Ghana Water Company Limited.
It has been said time and again that illegal mining does not only cause harm to our environment and water bodies; it also has health implications because of the use of dangerous chemicals such as mercury and cyanide.
In addition to all these dangers posed by illegal mining, the youth who participate in the illegal business also expose their lives to danger.
Those who dig pits into the “belly” of the earth to mine expose themselves to danger and, indeed, very often some of them have lost their lives, just like what happened in Nsuta last Sunday.
Already, the polemics have begun, as our politicians are engaged in the blame game over the sad story that occurred at Nsuta.
No matter our individual positions on this matter and our differences as to how this country must be governed, we think that the fight against illegal mining requires one big voice in unity of purpose to contain the menace.
The Daily Graphic calls on the government, at this stage, to change the focus of its strategy of appealing to the conscience of those involved in galamsey to the next stage where the security agencies must be directed to enforce the law. After all the menace is an illegality, according to the laws of the country.
We hear the cries of those involved that that is the way they maintain their keep or earn their living, but we cannot allow people to engage in wrongdoing in the name of putting body and soul together.
The Daily Graphic believes that if a stop is put to galamsey and the vegetation that the operators have destroyed is reclaimed and water bodies become clean, the land will be able to accommodate those who want to till the land to earn a living.
Presently, some of our cocoa farms have been destroyed (perhaps one of the reasons for the decline in cocoa production) and farmlands also ravaged, making it difficult to grow food and cash crops.
There are too many reasons we cannot fail in the fight against galamsey but step it up.
Notwithstanding the fight against galamsey, the Daily Graphic extends its condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the galamsey pit at Nsuta last Sunday.