Residents of Datano and its environs in the Manso District of the Ashanti Region have appealed to the President to as a matter of urgency stop mining activities on the Offin River.
The activities of the miners have polluted the river, their source of water, resulting in continuous water shortages, they said.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Mr. Atta Yaw, a farmer, stated that farming had become unattractive in those areas due to lack of water for irrigation.
Manso-Keneago, Manso-Asaman, Manso-Datano, were some of the towns he mentioned as the worst affected areas.
He explained that the miners drained the river bed to get access to the gold-bearing rocks and sand, creating a water shortage in the process.
Also, the highly toxic chemicals (Mercury and others) used in the mining process rendered the water poisonous and unfit for human and animal consumption. Fishes in the river are dying as a result while the water cannot be used for farming.
He said, as a result, many residents had quit farming as the youth are abandoning farming for illegal mining and criminal activities, defeating President Nana Addo-Danquah Akufo-Addo’s efforts to promote jobs among the youth through the “Planting for food and jobs policy”.
Food items, on the other hand, had become expensive because the greater part of the food consumed locally had to be transported from Kumasi, among other areas, he said.
He said most of the miners were good swimmers who could easily outwit authorities.
A miner, name withheld in an interview with the GNA said, not a single month passes without the death of a miner on the river.
Madam Akua Kuor, a trader, said there was increasing truancy among their children due to the fact that they had to trek long distances to get water to bathe for school.
The Offin and the Pra Rivers form the boundary between Ashanti and Central regions and gold is mined from not only the river’s sediment but also from its bed, causing pollution, requiring huge sums of money to treat by the Ghana Water Company, for use.
The Offin River is an easterly-flowing waterway in Ghana. It flows through the Tano Ofin Reserve in Ghana’s Atwima Mponua District.
The Offin river bed is 90 meters above mean sea level. It has cut steep side channels, the average depth of between 12 and 15 meters, into the rolling terrain over which it flows.