I wrote this piece about a month ago when the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources held its first Consultative Forum on illegal mining in Accra. I am reproducing it in the wake of statements made by the Asantehene, Otumfour Osei Tutu II at the 2nd Consultative Forum of the Ministry in Kumasi.
My passion and special interest for the protection of the natural environment was developed whilst studying Development Studies at the University of Cape Coast. I came to understand that, the protection of the natural environment is critical for the economic development of every nation. This led me to do Environment and Development as a major.
In 2019, whilst I was in Brussels, Belgium for a Conference on Equitable Economic Growth Among Cities, I saw efforts being made by the government to meet European Union Green Policy. Asphalted roads were being excavated to make way for green (shrubs and grasses). My trips to Germany in 2017 and 2019 further heightened my interest in the conservation of the natural environment. Germany does not joke with its green policy and environmental protection.
My current study focuses on Ghana-China Trade Relations and the environmental impacts of Chinese involvement in illegal mining. I do not see any commitment from Ghanaians in protecting the environment especially in ending illegal mining.
Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor since assuming office is taking initiatives to deal with illegal mining in Ghana. I must commend him for this bold steps and I pray he succeeds. Unfortunately, the discussion is yet to underscore the threat of Chinese involvement in illegal mining.
In view of this, I’ve been reflecting on the destruction of illegal mining to our forests and water resources and how we can deal with this life threatening problem.
I think we need to step up the fight against illegal mining devoid of the usual rhetoric to save our forests and water bodies upon which our livelihoods depend.
Chinese Involvement in illegal Mmining and the introduction of heavy machines remain the main threats to the attainment of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 15. Once this target is missed, we should forget achieving SDGs 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, 13 and among others.
Past and present governments have tried to deal with this menace but to no avail. For me, if the inclusion of the Military in the fight against iIlegal mining in 2013 and 2017/18, Operation Halt and others failed, then dealing with illegal mining is not a walk in the park. It demands integrity, honesty and commitment of all stakeholders.
Me thinks, traditional leaders and community members should lead initiatives to deal with illegal mining. They’re the best people to prevent illegal entry into the forests and its degradation. This is because, the destruction of the forest and water resources even though it is national/global, the local residents will bear the severe consequences.
In the meantime, I will encourage everyone to plant a tree on June 1, 2020 as part of Green Ghana Initiative. It is the best way to contribute to climate change mitigation and environmental protection.
May God bless our homeland Ghana!
Source : Ghanaweb