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STATESMAN OPINION: A Holistic Approach To Tackle Galamsey   
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“YEN ARA ASASE NI” is a memorable patriotic song by Ephraim Amu, which constantly reminds us that Ghana is our homeland bequeathed to us by our forebears through their toil and bloodshed. As a result, the onus lies on us to protect and preserve the land to hand over to generations yet unborn.

Unfortunately, however, we have allowed greed, selfishness and wickedness to lead us on to destroy the land to the detriment of our very existence, much more the unborn generations. A much-talked about modus operandi some have adopted to destroy our motherland is illegal mining, infamously known as ‘galamesey.’

The menace of galamsey, as well as its effects on the environment, is well-known but relevant authorities have seemingly decided to give it a blind eye. They fold their arms and permit, with recklessness, the wanton destruction of the environment.

Devastation of fauna and floral is not the only effects of galamsey, but also our water bodies. Hitherto, our rivers such as Densu, Birim, Pra, Ankobra, Offinso, among others, were lively, but now they are either dried up or heavily polluted beyond measure due to the activities of galamsey. Without a doubt, these rivers are now virtually incapable of sustaining aquatic and community lives.

Consequently, the Ghana Water Company Limited is now compelled to shut down some treatment plants, thereby being left with no option but to ration water supply. Either direct or indirect, the effects of galamsey are calamitous. Indeed, it destroys human lives.

It is in this regard that we at the Daily Statesman commend the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for its determination to exercise the necessary political will to fight the canker of galamsey

This is evidenced in a statement made by the Vice President that even though the New Patriotic Party government was aware that it would take a lot of political will to deal with some of the policies that would be introduced, “it nonetheless has to be dealt with because the damage caused by galamsey is irreparable if we leave it as it is.”

“So in the next few weeks, you will see some major policies on dealing with the menace, the galamsey activities are posing in this country. Even though we know there are some powerful interests groups behind these activities,” he added.

Governments have come and gone but the problem of galamsey continues to worsen, basically because they lacked the political will to put an end to it. Nonetheless, we will want to believe that the current government will back its talk with action, as promised.

We also associate with the comment of Dr Bawumia that the canker of galamsey cannot be dealt with without looking at the issue of sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

“If you grow as an economy and you have a large section of your economy excluded from the growth process, you are essentially enhancing poverty and that surge for income from jobless youth will lead them into activities that degrade the environment. “So whilst we try to tackle the issue of galamsey and other activities that degrade the environment, we must think about inclusive growth,” the vice president observed.

We believe that eradicating galamsey without providing alternative means of livelihood for the youth will amount to an exercise in futility. We therefore call on the government to adopt a holistic approach to tackle galamsey.

Source: The New Statesman

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