A mining expert, Dr. Christina Odoumah, has called for a repair of the soil at Dunkwa-on-Offin because of the alarming levels of mercury pollution.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Ghana Gold Expo in Takoradi, Dr Odoumah mentioned galamsey as the cause of the situation and called for a remediation of the soil there.
The Offin River is a tributary of the main Pra River in the Central Region. Just like the Pra River, the Offin River is seeing a lot of galamsey activities with many using unconventional methods.
These miners use mercury oblivious of the danger it poses to them and the larger population.
The inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.
The inorganic salts of mercury are corrosive to the skin, eyes and gastrointestinal tract, and may induce kidney toxicity if ingested, experts have said.
Dr. Christina Odoumah, who has conducted a research on mercury deposits in communities along the Offin and Pra rivers, describes the situation as alarming.
“We have more than 1000 milligrams per kilograms of mercury in the mining waste which is being exposed to the environment,” she said.
“This is outrageous! So I am of the view that there should be a remediation.”
She outlines some measures to address the situation.
“I am of the view that they redeem the soil there. And also I think the galamseyers didn’t know, because a lot of people don’t know that using mercury can affect their health. So they should be given education.
“And then give them new techniques because there are new techniques to recover more gold than even the mercury,” she indicated.
Meanwhile, the Western Region Minister, Kwabena Otchere Darko Mensah, in his welcome address, was hopeful that some workable solutions to the galamsey menace will come out of the Ghana Gold Expo.
He said: “As a Region and as a country, we have had our share of the repercussion of illegal mining and the indiscriminate use of harmful chemicals in mining operations….
“There are still challenges in dealing with the galamsey menace, and so, we will welcome workable solutions from this forum to stamp out galamsey, restore devastated lands and water bodies as well as boost the Community Mining Scheme through funding and technology transfer.”
The maiden Ghana Gold Expo, which brought together international and local players in the gold industry, is on the theme: ‘No mercury’.
The initiative, borne out of a collaboration between Aurum Monaco (partners of View Tag Ghana) and the Western Regional Coordinating Council, seeks among others to synergise efforts at ensuring transparent and responsible mining in Ghana.
By Shirley Ewurama Smith|3news.com|Takoradi, W/R|Ghana