The Minister of Environment, Science, Innovation, and Technology, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, has hinted that illegal miners (galamseyers) could serve between 15 and 25 years imprisonment if found guilty by the courts.
He said this during the celebration of this year’s World Environmental Day at Asante Juaben over the weekend. This year’s celebration is under the theme ‘Let’s Unite to Save the Environment.’
According to the Minister, the Minerals and Mining Act of 2016 has been amended to complement government’s effort in the fight against galamsey.
He said his outfit would work with the Ministry of Lands and Natural resources and other stakeholders to restore polluted water bodies, degraded forests and lands to their original state.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie gave the assurance that government, through his ministry, is ready to ensure that effective policies are directed towards the achievement of the global agenda of Ecosystems Restoration.
To this end, he disclosed that close to $50 million had been invested by development partners in Northern Savannah in the last decade to build resilience and restore the ecological system of the area.
“Government’s effort cannot go down the drain and therefore let me remind all that the Minerals and Mining Act of 2016 has been amended and one can serve between 15 and 25years imprisonment if found guilty of galamsey,” he said.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie cited galamsey as one of the major threats to the environment.
He mentioned that a recent Ghana Country Environmental Analysis launched by the World Bank some months ago revealed that the cost of environmental degradation in Ghana per year is estimated at US$11 billion.
This, he added, poses a significant risk to future economic growth as well as a threat to public and ecosystem health.
“It is my humble appeal that we all synergistically join hands and collectively put efforts to save the environment. Our current generation has the moral obligation to restore and sustainably manage the environment for the next generation to benefit from it,” he pleaded.
He encouraged Planning Authorities in municipalities and districts, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to spearhead the fight against environmental degradation by enforcing the requisite laws and regulations.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie also urged traditional authorities to promote and uphold cultural values that go a long way to support the conservation agenda.