Dr Gibrilla Abass, a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, has advised the government to consult academia in its fight against illegal mining.
According to him, the halt in illegal mining cannot be sustained if government fails to collaborate with Academia and industry players. As a result, it may likely miss out on Sustainable Development Goal Six.
SDG six seeks to ensure the provision of potable drinking water for its citizens and in an event that the illegal menace is not curbed, it can affect its achievements.
Dr Abass further explained that the state must engender collaboration with social and political scientists to find a more workable means to halt the threat.
“We need to link up the hard core sciences with the social and political sciences so that when you’re addressing some of these issues we don’t have that disconnect.
“Yes, when you go for the natural science and you see pollution at an alarming state, the first thing you will do is to raise the red flag that it should be stopped. Now when you stop it, what alternative are you giving to the people? Until we begin to think about what alternative we give to the people who depend solely on this as their means of livelihood, then I think we can’t get anywhere and I think that is where the focus of our discussion must be.”Gibrilla Abass
He made this revelation at the first International Sustainable Development Conference organised by the University of Environment and Sustainable Development.
Protecting the environment
Additionally, Dr Abass maintained that “we can still mine and get the full potential of our natural resources at the same time protect our environment and natural resources”.
On his part, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Environment and Sustainable Development, Prof Eric Nyarko Sampson, revealed that the University is determined to follow its mandate to research and proffer viable solutions to the problems of the Country and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“We think that the focus must be on the environment. How do we protect, secure and make the environment sustainable? In sustainability, we are talking about the implications of our actions towards the environment now”.Prof Eric Nyarko Sampson
Furthermore, Prof Nyarko, indicated that the University is working had with industry in the formulation of its curricula in order to bridge the gap. Also, he noted that this will enable them produce relevant human resources for development.
Resident Director of Fredrich Ebert-Stiftung Ghana, Johann Ivanov urged African leaders to show the political will towards the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The conference brought together non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, political actors and members from Academia to share ideas on sustainable development within the Sub-Saharan Africa context.
Alternative livelihood for illegal miners
Meanwhile, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sunyani-based Global Media Foundation (GLOMeF) Raphael Godlove Ahenu, has called on government to create alternative employment opportunities for illegal miners via vocational and technical training.
According to him, illegal miners engage in the activity due to lack of alternative jobs and that government’s help will go a long way.
“I commend the government for the effort to stop illegal mining but they need to get the youth busy elsewhere, otherwise we are only pouring water in a basket”.Raphael Godlove Ahenu
He further urged President Akufo-Addo not to succumb to any external influence to stop the fight against illegal mining.
“The fight against the menace, when sustained, will bring positive outcomes and further stop the destruction of Ghana’s water bodies and vegetation”.Raphael Godlove Ahenu