Illegal mining or ‘galamsey’ in Ghana has been a menace in the country for a while. It has elicited negative feelings from people all over Ghana. The disgust and discontent associated with galamsey sites in Ghana is evident in the way the people have chosen to deal with the menace. They have turned their attention from complaining about the problem to actually taking the issue head on.
People have resorted to showing the rot through use of electronic media like the lobbying of media stations (newspaper, radio and television), using the Internet and also through magazines.
Causes of Galamsey in Ghana
When you visit galamsey areas in Ghana, you will realize that the highest population is the youth. Unemployment among the youth in Ghana is a very big menace. Young university graduates rarely find work, and when they do it hardly sustains them. The result is that these youth go the extra mile to earn a living. ‘Going an extra mile’ here means them abandoning their dreams, a dream they took out of University as a degree, and they result to galamsey activities in Ghana.
Apart from unemployment, another highly contributory factor to the frequent re-emergence of galamsey sites in Ghana is the lack of job security. In a country with a high rate of unemployment, it may be hard to keep your job. And apart from that, the employers may pay poorly due to the availability of skilled unemployed people ready to take up your position when you are relieved of your duties. This may push some people to go and work in the galamsey sites.
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Ambition is priceless right? But sometimes ambition has a price, and in this case the environment pays the price of other peoples ambition. One of the causes of galamsey is people’s desire to want to live a better life. People want to make money, have a better life and ultimately live in luxury. Sometimes this leads them to make bad decisions, and in this case they visit galamsey sites in Ghana and end up contributing to environmental degradation.
Effects of Galamsey in Ghana
Galamsey in Ghana has several negative effects. In fact, there is no single positive thing that is associated with galamsey operations in Ghana, not the process and even not the end product. The largest loser of these galamsey sites is the environment. Galamsey sites are a deforestation menace. Galamsey sites in Ghana are located near rivers and some near what used to one be a blossoming forest areas full of trees that attracted rain and slowed down global warming. Now, with the emergence of these galamsey sites, trees are being cut down. The rain is becoming scarce and global warming is being felt.
Another effect of galamsey is that it causes domestic brain drain. It is the largest cause of domestic brain drain in Ghana. Young, educated and brilliant minds end up wasting their energies in these illegal mines. These are the people who, if given a chance may even change the country, but for whichever reason, they find themselves working in galamsey sites.
The people working and living in galamsey areas in Ghana are always exposed to health hazards daily. As galamsey is an uncontrolled mining site, the products used in mining are very dangerous. T has been reported that rivers located in galamsey mining sites have tested positive to mercury. This shows the rot associated and emerging from galamsey operations in Ghana. Mercury, needless to say, is a very dangerous chemical that should not be exposed to people and people around these galamsey sites get a daily dose of it be it in the water they drink or the ground they cultivate.