The Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin, says the burning of excavators by the military task force clamping down on illegal mining is disheartening but a necessary evil in the fight against the canker.
He said illegal mining is a threat to the environment, agriculture and sustainable development and therefore must be tackled head-on.
According to the Overlord of Akyem Abuakwa, it is untenable for people to use unemployment as an excuse to engage in illegal mining to destroy the environment.
He maintained there are many alternative livelihood programs by government such as the Planting for food and jobs program.
“The disciplined old cultures didn’t live by rule of law but lived by rule by nature. They were disciplined and respected nature therefore never destroyed water bodies. But this generation is bent on destroying the natural environment. When at all will galamsey be stopped?
“The excuse that people are engaging in illegal mining because there is no employment is untenable. Planting for Food and Jobs and other programs are some alternative livelihoods that the youth can take advantage of. It saddens me When I see excavators on Television being burnt but people are recalcitrant. If you leave it, they will return to site with it “.
OKyenhene made remarks Monday when the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources Cecilia Abena Dapaah and her entourage of experts and directors at the Ministry paid a courtesy call on him at the Ofori Panin Fie in Kyebi in the Eastern Region as part of her assessment tour of major river bodies and water treatment plants in the country.
The Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, Cecilia Abena Dapaah and her entourage visited the Kyebi Water treatment plant where she was impressed about the cleanliness of the raw water source in the Birim river. She was however troubled by the high-water turbidity at Bunso and Osino Water treatment plants and intake points on downstream of the same river.
The situation has led to low water production and intermittent shutdown of the water treatment plants.
Addressing the media, the minister expressed worry over the devastation of lands along the Birim river and the muddying of raw water supply by the illegal miners. She called on Ghanaians to support President Akufo-Addo’s fight against illegal mining to help protect water bodies in the country.
“We’ve seen the devastations of the land as well as the complete muddying of our water body called birim. The three places we’ve been to, the projects are all on the Birim river and as we all saw, Kyebi has the cleanest water source with a turbidity of 11NTU which is within the acceptable International unit. Then we came to Bunso, and you all heard from the manager there that when they took the sample in the morning the turbidity was 1900NTU then in the afternoon -mid-morning getting to the afternoon they took and it was 330NTU. From the explanation, they have given when we were asleep some people were working on the river body hence the deepening of the muddy and rising of the turbidity levels ”
She added, “We’ve come here and am very sad honestly, very very sad looking at the fact that some people had the audacity to divert the Birim river to form pools for washing their metals and using chemicals which goes deep into the river”.
The Eastern Regional Minister Seth Acheampong said government is determined in the fight against the menace and anybody who infringes the regulation will not be spared