Director for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Water Research Institute (WRI), Professor Mike Osei-Atweneboana, has cautioned illegal miners and other stakeholders of illegal mining against the practice, citing its adverse impact on the environment.
Speaking in an interview with The Independent Ghana, the Professor asked illegal miners to prioritise national interest over personal gains since their activities have long-term effects which will come back to bite them in the near future.
“People who engage in illegal mining must know that when you throw a ball to the wall, it will always come back to you. Now they may be enjoying the booty of the illegal mining but what is happening is that the impact, when it comes in the major scale, it will not be the people alone that will suffer. They [illegal miners] will pay and they will pay dearly,” he said.
Appealing to the conscience of illegal miners, he urged them to adopt responsible and sustainable practices in the conduct of their activities to ensure minimum impact on the environment.
“They must know that this is a country that our forefathers have built. If they cannot add something to it, they shouldn’t destroy the country. They should think about Ghana and not their pockets and the money they are going to get,” he said.
As Ghana continues its battle against illegal mining, the Professor’s comment serves as a reminder of the collective responsibility to safeguard the nation’s natural resources for future generations.
Highlighting the long-term environmental and societal impacts of illegal mining, he noted that Ghana risks losing its water bodies in a few years to come if the activity does not stop.
“…and they should know that if we lose those water bodies they will not get water to drink. Most of the animals in water bodies – the fishes and other primary producers that sustain life- are being killed.
“Fishes cannot stay in these water bodies. Even those that stay become completely polluted. So the fish that you eat may have an accumulation of the chemicals that we do not want because when they get into our system, they are going to kill us. So going forward, we need to do something, otherwise in the next 10 years we will have a lot of rivers but we cannot use them and we need to change and now,” he noted.