The Forestry Commission has called for urgent action to help protect the countrys forests and reserves from depletion.
The Forestry Commission revealed that 34 out of 288 forest reserves in the country are currently under threat due to illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey bemoaned the fast depletion of the country’s forests and reserves, calling for immediate steps to halt the situation.
He said the level of devastation in the affected reserves is dire.
For him, the country’s forests and reserves were under serious threat due to encroachment and other human activities, including farming and estate development.
Speaking at a press conference on the state of Ghana’s Forest Reserves, he said “34 out of 288 reserves have been affected. These are areas we have significant illegal mining. The total area mapped is about 4,726.2 hectares. This is only the size of the surface, some of these impact is fully in whole. And they excavate lots of materials that will impact the forest. It’s not only the size but the impact on our water bodies and the depth of the holes created. A lot more would have to be done to be able to reclaim the land.”
The Minister in Charge of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor reacting to the report by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, he said the government’s fight to clamp down on illegal mining activities should not be judged based on portions of the report.
“I found the work of the IMICM valuable, and I am working with my team to factor into the things we are doing today. There are things about the work I may not adopt today for many reasons because the terrain may have changed and so on and so forth. The report doesn’t capture my stewardship till today. I have heard people say that the report shows that the government has failed, that I have failed, the report didn’t capture my tenure. The report cannot be sacrosanct, what is important is that we remain focused,” Jinapor stated.
The mining sector has historically been one of the major economic activities that contribute to national growth.
Many countries have grown their economic stature by extrapolating natural resources through mining.
Given the economic boom, not much attention is paid to the health implications of mining activities.