Friday, 21 April 2017

Only The Power Of The Media Can Save The Remainder Of Ghana's Natural Heritage

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon John Peter Amewu,  recently stated that it is vital to  harness the power of the Ghanaian media, in the fight against illegal gold mining.

He is indeed right to say so - for it is a candid  observation of the virtual helplessness of most of officialdom in dealing with the problem: because they are too poorly-resourced logistically and humstrung in their work by egregious corruption  to fight it effectively.

The truth of the matter, is that such is the power and baleful influence wielded in society by the criminal syndicates  behind most of the illegal gold mining in Ghana that if the fight to halt it is left to the regulatory bodies alone, it will definitely fail.

But as a people, this a fight we dare not shrink from nor afford to lose - for the destructive activities of the illegal miners pose an existential threat to both present and future generations  of our people.

Illegal gold mining is leading inexorably to Ghana becoming a water-stressed nation in the not too distant future. That is intolerable and totally unacceptable - and it ought to be prevented from happening at all costs by society.

The media must therefore - amongst other combative strategies it adopts to fight this ckesr and present danger - focus constantly on the work of the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Water Resources Commission at the district and national levels.

It is the only way to minimise or eliminate the pockets of unacceptable corruption in those key public-sector organisations that results in the dereliction of duty by dome of the officials employed by the state to ensure that the  natural environment is safeguarded in all mining concessions in Ghana.

That deriliction of duty by officials in those important state institutions is now impacting negatively on society - as the remainder of our nation's natural heritage is trashed by lawless individuals mining gold illegally across the country.

It is now obvious that we can no longer afford to continue allowing the greed and selfishness of a few corrupt officials in the system to hamper the effort to stop illegal gold miners from destroying what is left of our nation's natural heritage.

The media must make a determined effort to prevent the unfathomable greed driving a few thousand misguided individuals  from jeopardising the quality of life of over some 25 million mostly law-abiding Ghanaian citizens.

Above all, the media must remain committed to the fight against environmental degradation nationwide.

Weighed against  the frightening public health implications  of being a water-stressed nation, perhaps it might very well be that the only way for society to prevent that apocalyptic situation from arising, would be to ban all surface gold mining in Ghana.

Judging from the enormity of the task of ending illegal gold mining in Ghana, perhaps the conversation the media should begin is to discuss the wisdom of permitting  only  underground gold mining to be carried out in our homeland Ghana, going forward into the future.

Finally, clearly, as things currently stand, it is only the power of the Ghanaian media that can save the remainder of our nation's natural heritage from being totally destroyed by the operations of illegal gold miners, and prevent Ghana from ending up becoming a water-stressed nation.

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