NGO expresses concern over death of seven in open pit 

By Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA 

New Bakanta (WR), April 15, GNA – The Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, an environmentally conscious nongovernmental organisation (NGO), has expressed dismay at the death of seven community members from Nkroful, Anwia and Telekubokazo in open pits left after illegal mining activities.  

Mrs Elizabeth Allua Vaah, the Executive Director, Ghana Environmental Advocacy Group, said four of the deceased were from Nkroful, with two and one from Anwia and Telekubokazo, respectively. 

The group during a press conference at New Bakanta in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, displayed different kinds of water drawn from five river sources in the area to show the extent of pollution from illegal mining activities.  

She said the sorry state of the rivers like the Ankobra, Birim, Broma, Butre, Offin, Pra, Subile, Tano, and White Volta, called for a united voice in advocating a halt in mining activities within reserve forest zones and in water bodies.   

Mrs Vaah said destructive community mining, poorly regulated small-scale mining, digging for minerals in forest reserves and all forms of surface mining that had negative impact on the people must be urgently checked and stopped. 

She blamed the current situation on the failure of the requisite state authorities and chiefs of those areas to act to prevent “poisoning” of the lands and rivers, which had lasting socio-economic, health and security implications on the people and their environment. 

“Our cocoa production has reduced, and whatever little we have left will soon be tagged as contaminated with heavy metals, which should be an issue for serious national discourse,” she said. 

Currently communities such as Aiyinasi Sendu, Adjei Obeng Krom, Anwia, Abelebo, Egila Eshiem, Banso, and Dadieso faced great dangers of poisoning from polluted land and water bodies by foreign and Ghanaian mining companies alike, Mrs Vaah said. 

“Today many of us in Egila (Dwira), Nzema, Aowin, Sefwi, Wassa, and Ashanti are drinking mercury and lead laden water, eating tubers, fruits and fishes that have been contaminated with poisonous heavy metals,” she said. 

 “The result being an increase in diseases associated with mercury, lead, arsenic, and cyanide poisoning.” 

Some organised youth groups from surrounding communities also presented a strong-worded statement to show their disapproval of the destructive nature of unregulated mining activities on their lands.