The government has been urged to review its strategy towards fighting illegal mining to make it regional and district-led.
An environmentalist, Nana Dwomoh Sarpong, who made the call, said the current top-bottom approach where an anti galamsey task force formed at the national level took charge of operations was not helping matters.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra last Friday, he said: “We have had Operation Vanguard, Operation Halt and Operation Halt II, all constituted at the top in Accra but the problem persists, which tells us that something is wrong in our strategy.”
Explaining further, Nana Sarpong who is the President of Friends of Rivers and Water Bodies, said making the anti-galamsey strategy regional/district-led would make the regional and district security councils which knew the terrain well to own the exercise in order to prosecute it effectively.
“The regions and districts are there already, they know all the areas and the people who engage in the illegal activities, so why do we send people from Accra to take charge of the operations?” he queried.
Nana Sarpong said the national task force would only have to come in to monitor how the regions and districts were performing.
“It is good that some of the regions and districts have already taken up the task, and have formed their own task forces, but they will need the full support in the form of resources from central government to undertake their activities,” he stated.
State of rivers
The environmentalist expressed concern about the state of some rivers affected by galamsey, and further said “ we have to take this fight seriously to prevent a major national disaster.
“As I speak to you now major rivers like Pra, Ankobra, Offin and Birim have been heavily polluted by illegal mining, and this calls for a major action to restore normalcy,” he said.
The environmentalist said the way the galamsey fight was being handled showed that a lot more efforts needed to be put in to achieve the desired results.
He said it was time to expose the “big names” who were behind the illegal activities rather than putting all emphasis on the “small fishes.”
“For me, these are cartels who must be exposed , whether they are politicians or whatever, “ he said.
Nana Sarpong said along the roads in the mining areas, excavators littered the roads, while no one questioned what they were meant for.
He suggested that excavators that were impounded for galamsey activities should be demobilised and the parts sold, and the money used for the development of the districts where they were impounded.