Ghana losing forest cover to illegal mining

galamsayGhana’s forest cover stands the risk of being decreased to considerable level in the next generation if illegal mining in forest reserves is not stemmed, the Forestry Commission, has warned.

The Commission said it is the responsibility of stakeholders to tackle the menace with zeal to sustain the eco-system and biodiversity.

Currently, forest reserves including the Supuma, Subri, Bonsa, Upper Wassaw, Apamprama, Desin, Oda, Atiwa, are being degraded at an alarming rate due to illegal mining.

Mr Alexander Amoako Boadu, National Director of Operations of Forestry Services Division of the Commission, told Ghana News Agency that the trend has led to the pollution of water bodies, while large tracts of forests have been depleted.

He made this known on the sidelines of an inspection by the Ashanti Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to Oda forest reserve near the Amansie-Central District, following massive illegal mining activities in the area.

It is estimated that the rate of deforestation currently stands at 65, 000 hectares per annum and Ghana’s total forest cover, which stood at 8.2 million hectares, representing 34 per cent of the total land area, at the turn of the last century, had decreased to 1.6 million hectares.

Mr Samuel Sarpong, Regional Minister and Chairman of the REGSEC, affirmed the Council’s resolve to stop all illegal mining activities to protect the environment.

He said a task force has been mandated to arrest those found culpable of degrading the forest.

In a related development, two Chinese nationals have been arrested and being investigated by the police for illegally mining in the Oda forest reserve.

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