The threat posed by illegal mining to the quality of river bodies has become a major concern to the general public and every well-meaning Ghanaian. Mining is the extraction of minerals and metals from the earth example; manganese, bauxite, gold etc. for decades the extraction and subsequent processing of these precious minerals have provided thousands of indigenous people with employment and many continents with wealth.
According to Aryee et al an estimated 80,000 locals including women are currently involved in small scale mining (legal and illegal) of gold in Ghana.
River bodies are natural gifts of nature. In Ghana, river bodies have contributed immensely to the socio – economic development of the country. Illegal mining popularly called “Galamsey” is a social menace that has affected a greater part of the country’s river bodies.
Over the past years efforts are being made to curb this menace. It’s an undeniable fact that despite the numerous importance of rivers to the country, it has had its own negative share of illegal mining.
It was therefore no surprise when BBC on 11th august, 2021 reported that sixty percent of Ghana’s water bodies are now polluted due to illegal mining.
One known importance of river bodies is that, river bodies serve as a source of drinking water for a lot of people. River bodies that find themselves in galamsey prone communities are very contaminated hence making it unsafe for human and animal consumption.
Not only is this affecting those in these communities only but also the consumers of pipe borne water may be consuming small amount of mercury and other dangerous gases unknown to the public. This can cause serious health challenge for consumers.
Again, the sustainability of river flow cannot be guaranteed and this pose as a serious threat for those who still depend on rivers for their domestic chores.
Most people in the rural settings depends on the availability of river bodies to do most of their domestic chores. With recent activities of illegal miners using the water from river bodies for their activities, the water dries up faster than expected. This has made water very scares at such places.
In addition, most river bodies are used as means of transportation, rivers connect villages, towns and cities together. In recent times it has become very difficult for people to travel on water bodies because of the large number of gravels, mud and rocks displaced the natural flow of river during sailing.
Finally, rivers serve as habitat for aquatic animals such as fishes. People living along the banks of rivers go fishing in these rivers but the recent activities of illegal miners has killed and also displaced most of these fishes, making it very hard to fishermen to get a good harvest when they go fishing. This has created scarcity of fish on the market.