One reason the Nana Addo led government banned illegal small scale mining [galamsey] from March 24th 2017 to December 2018 was to control the rate at which illegal miners were mining down across the country, Ghana’s traditional rivers for alluvial gold.
In the Western Region, in particular, three major rivers; River Prah, Ankobra and Tano were heavily polluted.
Of the three, River Ankobra became a greater source of worry when images of custom made ships by some Chinese who had illegally invaded the country popped up. These custom made vessels were on the river mining the river bed itself. In the process, some five Chinese with their Ghanaian counterparts were arrested by the government’s Operation Vanguard in 2017 and sent to the Sekondi High Court. It was here the Chinese abandoned their Ghanaian collaborators in courts.
Experts believed the extent of pollution of the river was going to cost the Ghanaian government some $400m to dredge and clean it.
Two years down and the fight against illegal mining on the Ankobra River seem to have produced some astonishing results. Even without the government’s $400m dredging and cleaning money, the physical appearance of the River has changed from the brownish murky colour to what residents say it was in its glorious days. The silt has settled and Ankobra is all clean and blue again.
Residents who spoke to ourstorisonline.com were already celebrating the achievement, crediting the “milestone” to the NPP government’s fight against illegal mining.
“The change in colour you see is as a result of the reduction in illegal mining activities in the Ankobra. We know that people are still doing it in the upper stream, but it has reduced. It is why you see the beautiful change”. A resident who feeds his family from harvesting fishes in the river, Francis Quayson told ourstorisonline.com
He continued that “naturally this time of the year, the sea comes down with its salty content to change Ankobra’s colour. But the more reason we are celebrating and crediting the government for this change is also that, we know that this phenomenon was impossible same time last year even though the sea came down with the salt to the river. The level of pollution couldn’t allow the river to clean itself because illegal mining that was actively taking place. Some of us are grateful to the government for the fight on galamsey”.
Meanwhile, the change is so dramatic that residents; both young and old say, has helped the fish stock in the river to shot up.
“You see those children over there, go and observe their catch. They are fishing using hook and line. The river is clean and the fishes in it have increased. The crabs, the tilapia and many others are increasing by numbers. I will like to tell Nana Addo that he should keep doing what he is doing for us on galamsey. But please tell him some people are still doing the galamsey around Banso in the night”. Isaac Kaku, a resident of Ankobra explained to ourstorisonline.com