Ban On Illegal Mining: Ankobra River Regains ‘Consciousness’

The one time "lifeless" Ankobra River in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region is regaining its life with the continuous flow of clear water as against the muddy situation which was the case some ten months ago due to illegal mining activities.

Waste products such as mercury, cyanide, excreta were directly poured into the river by some unscrupulous illegal miners who failed to operate according to acceptable standards and thereby destroyed the very nature and beauty of the river.

Some residents the Ghana News Agency interviewed admitted seeing a change in the colour from the once muddy and lifeless river to an all blue and ‘see through’ river.

The success story could be attributed to the ban on illegal mining and the setting up of the Inter-Ministrial Committee on Illegal Mining (ICIM) to sanitize the sector.

The Ankobra River, like River Pra and other such natural water bodies that serve as the main sources of raw materials for water production by the Ghana Water Company had become brownish in colour, muddy, highly polluted with mercury and other chemicals with turbidity level very high to treat.

Residents who relied on these sources of water had to bear their suffering for years.

Recently, the government said an estimated amount of US$ 400 million is needed to dredge and clean the heavy mercury content in the Ankobra River.

Mr Paul Amoah, the Assembly Member for Sahuma Electoral Area, praised government for enforcing the ban that has yielded the positive results and prayed that the stringent measures would be maintained to ensure the complete rejuvenation of the river.

He called for laboratory analysis to ascertain the current mercury content and give the community some assurances of no health threats as they begin to use the river.