The destruction of river bodies in the Ashanti Region by mining companies is a source of worry to Regional Minister John Alexander Ackon, who has asked the miners to find proper ways of sieving the gold without polluting the river bodies.
According to him, President John Mahama has undertaken a $58 million water project in Konongo, a town in the region, however, alluvial gold mining has blocked the flow of the water and also polluted the river in the town, posing severe challenges to the people who rely on the river for their domestic chores.
He told journalists in Kumasi during a press encounter Thursday May 26: “Go to Konongo, there is a $58 million water project done by this president, but alluvial gold mining is going on there and the result is that water is polluted. You can’t get enough flow because somebody decided to block the flow of the water to mine for gold.”
He explained that the water project has “a reserve capacity, which, if full, can operate anything between three and six months, if water shortage should hit the area, by which time we are sure it would have come back”.
“But then it is polluted, somebody does alluvial [mining] and stopped the water from flowing,” he stated.
He said the municipal security committee of the Council of Konongo had been mandated to deal with the water pollution problem.
“We have given particular mandate to the municipal security committee and the Council of Konongo to deal with the situation and we shall also follow-up strongly,” he said.
“The point is that people should survive, so, don’t pollute water bodies which serve all of us. If you have a way of treating your gold without polluting our [water] bodies, that is alright. But don’t get to a place which will benefit all of us because then few people will enjoy and all of us will lose,” he told the mining companies, further stressing:
“So, our view is that people should check our water bodies because it is becoming too dangerous and people should be enlightened to do what is right and be controlled and monitored to do what is right. So, gradually, we want to overcome it but its a very difficult situation because of the level of involvement of people in the trade.”