Afforestation I was told in simple terms means growing of more trees to replace the cut down ones. Growing up as a child my learned teachers made me to understand that, some of the benefits a country gains for practicing afforestation includes: Good rainfall pattern, prevention of land degradation, Fresh air to aid breathing, protection of water bodies, protection of soil nutrients for crops/food production, etc. Again, I was made to understand that afforestation helps to promote the ecosystem, hence tourism.
Deforestation my teachers told me is caused by continues cutting down of trees for firewood, charcoal, etc. without planting new ones; bush burning, sand wining among others.
But, I was never made to understand that gold mining causes deforestation and more. I was never told gold mining can cause our water bodies to dry up hence making the country loss large sums of money in reclaiming the wonderful water bodies and lands. I was never told that gold mining in my country Ghana could affects its neighboring countries negatively.
All I knew was gold mining is a great activity generating much income and employment for people and the country. This, I now doubt because the percentage of mining proceeds that goes to the government/country at the end of the day is just a coin and the level of employment in this sector comparatively is low.
Also, with the image created in my long lasting mind, I never thought there is a kind of mining called Galamsey (illegal mining) allowed in my country; affecting a lot of citizens until it started affecting myself indirectly for now.
It has made most people to lost/lose memories and reference of their departed loved ones. Why! Because the cemeteries are now been converted into Galamsey/Mining Sites, with the bones and other remains of these departed loved ones exhumed not for medical or investigative purposes but left behind to rebury themselves.
Sadly, some wicked ones surely take advantage of this situation and use the exhumed remains either for rituals or other activities best known to them without the knowledge of the deceased family.
Oh Ghana! Why will we continue to destroy our wonderful forest/tourism, ecosystem, water bodies just in the name of employment and a coin to be added to our national income?
I acknowledge there are no jobs and money in pockets, but that should not be the basis for destroying the future of this country through bad gold mining practices and illegal ones (Galamsey).
In the struggle to create jobs, let us be mindful we do not create a situation where in future: some individuals will also start indulging in various illegal acts with the hope that, as people and government begin to feel uncomfortable they shall enroll policies to support or integrate their illegal practices into the legal ones or a situation may be created where the youths at school going ages will start dropping out of school in search of the “quick money” created by Galamsey.
I am saying this because, we are forgetting the facts that Galamsey does not only “employs” graduates but also a lot of very vulnerable children who dropped out of school for such purpose; “Because it is free for everybody to do or start” as a result of the gaps in the system and institutional failures.
The Government, Lands and Forestry Commissions, Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A) and other stakeholders must take advantage of the current positive agitations and restructure the entire mining sector most especially the mining laws and regulations; those involved and causing the administrative lapses and gaps must also be dealt with accordingly; the agencies directly or indirectly involved in checking mining and forestry activities must also be effectively resourced to build their capacity for monitoring and punishing offenders. They must also work as a team and be networked.
I also think that, there must be a national policy on the percentage of mining proceeds to be reserved or remitted to government for national developmental projects and these project areas must be specified.
I am saying this because if immediate steps are not taken to harness this situations: we shall wakeup from the “shaking comfort” of our lovely homes and be met with another crises; this time not Power Crises but Land Crises, Tourism/Forestry Crises, Water Crises, Food/Farming Crises among others.
If care is not taken, in future; we may have to import even oxygen (air to breath) because the trees shall no longer be enough to absorb the carbon dioxide we produce and generate greater amount oxygen to support our breathing naturally. A future that will force the country to import even water because the water bodies are dried up and polluted; a lot more food because farmers are been killed and their land degraded.
It appears, our generation is becoming greedily ubiquitous with money and willing to do anything weather good or bad, sustainable or non-sustainable just to satisfy our current wants or needs; living nothing for the future generations. This I say if our objects of worship do not judge us, then posterity will surely judge us.
To add, our leaders; political, religious, civil, etc. must lead the crusade and exemplary life because I assume they are our angels and Jesus on Earth. But if they are not ready then; we must be ready to change the situation for the better, but not to continue their wrong doings or be polluted by them.
It is very sad we claimed our forefather were not civilized like us, but they never did what we “the civilized” are doing; destroying our own lands, rivers, vegetation’s and animals . They rather used the resources wisely and protected the rest even with their lives for us.
I think the struggle by most to save a lot for their children’s future even if it takes destroying the current resources must be discouraged. Rather let us use the land and the resources wisely so that our children will benefit from its output in the future and also be able to create their own wealth from them.
As a country, if we do not have the capacity to explore our own gold or resources, for the betterment of our people: then, either we allow (for the next generation) or preserve them until we get the capacity to tap them. We may as well look for better corporations or persons with the right capacities, willing to work according to our fair terms to help us explore them rather than “the current act of greediness”.
Finally, I think we have had enough of the Galamsey and other mining related problems. It is time we all say a big “NO TO GALAMSEY” before it kills the next Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the next Big Six, Future Leaders, Responsible Citizens and the next Coffie Confidence.
Thank you all and God Bless Our Homeland Ghana.
By COFFIE CONFIDENCE
Future of Ghana (@FutureofGH)