Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, has stated emphatically that though Ghana is endowed with 53.2 billion cubic metres of water this does not give individuals or group of persons any excuse to destroy water bodies.
“It is our duty to ensure that we keep our rivers and water-bodies clean so that the next generations to come will enjoy what God has given to us,” she said, adding that government is embarking on a number of water projects.
“Sekondi-Takoradi very soon will benefit from a new water project; but unfortunately the intake is from the Pra River, and it is polluted – and we cannot allow this to continue. Government has had enough; we need to support government, and when you see these activities you need to report to the authorities so those involved will be dealt with accordingly,” she said
She added that: “Rivers were sacred entities that people feared to enter, but what do you see these days? They are always polluted by galamsey activities. We need to be active citizens and not spectators,” she said at Daboase in the Wassa East Municipality of the Western Region, after touring the Daboase Water Treatment Plant.
She was accompanied by Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, and Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister for Information. They are on a three-day tour in the Western Region to visit some water treatment plants and river-bodies, as well as some landfill sites among others. She urged all to support government in the fight against illegal mining activities.
Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, noted that although some efforts have been made on illegal small-scale mining and lessons have been learnt, there is still need for some national consensus and support toward the national policy relating to small scale mining.
He said there should be a well-sanitised and regulated small scale mining industry that contributes to the forward march and local economies of the country.
“President Akufo-Addo and his government are not against mining in Ghana, neither are we against small scale mining; in fact, on the contrary, we want to promote small scale mining – and we want to do so on a regulated basis and in a responsible manner that does not compromise river/water-bodies and the environment,” he emphasised.
He said there are several countries where small scale mining thrives, and thrives properly; hence, there is a need for national support. He added that there is need for reforms at the ministry and the Minerals Commission. “On the licencing and permitting regime, we need to look at it, and we are going to reform all of them to be centralised,” he said.
He further revealed that the Forestry Commission has been directed not to issue any licence or permit to any individual or group of persons. “This will mean that no one can walk into any forest to mine, because forests and river-bodies are red lines no one should cross,” the minister warned.
Again, he said: “I have directed all regional ministers across the country to take full control and responsibility for the security components in the fight against illegal mining”. He called on Ghanaians to see the fight against illegal mining as being a fight for all.