Death In The El Dorado

The fate of over a dozen gold prospectors, illegal anyway, is in the balance as they remained trapped eighty meters in the bowels of the earth.

The implication of this sad episode, which has hardly attracted the attention of Ghanaians the way it should, is that some of our compatriots are ready to go to any length to seek wealth.

More importantly, there would continue to be daredevils who are ready to breach the order that all those engaged in the illegality called galamsey should stop their crude prospecting for gold forthwith.

It has been a few yet momentous months since the onslaught on the illegality began with the president saying if saving the water bodies from contamination would cost him the presidency, so be it. The dividends are beginning to manifest as the Ghana Water Company Limited attested to it recently. The company had observed a marked improvement in the quality of water from the country’s rivers. This is an indication that there would be a reduced administration of chemicals in the water to make it potable and therefore less money being expended.

Even as we relish the good news that the brownish colour of contamination of the country’s main rivers, Birim, Ankobra, Prah and the rest, have changed, we have been jostled with the story of over a dozen persons trapped in a galamsey pit; their situation unknown.

The need to throw more hats into the ring in our bid to stop galamsey cannot be overemphasized. With a heightened policing in the illegal gold prospecting areas of the country, especially in the Western Region, the daredevils could venture into more dangerous depths to stay on top of the game. They must be stopped to save their own lives. After all, it is the responsibility of the state to protect lives –  even those who seek to terminate these.

With a sustained policing in the areas where galamsey is endemic, we can achieve much that would go a long way to protect lives and our water bodies.

It would appear that the dangers associated with venturing into such depths had not dawned on the largely youth who are engaged in the illegality.

With the rainy season at its peak – especially in the Western Region – we might record more of such accidents if the authorities do not step up their game to reduce ‘galamseying.’

As we were composing this commentary, word had filtered in that hope had faded for finding the entrapped alive. To put it subtly, they might have died. Whether this reality is going to serve as an important lesson for others is not certain.

We must as a society join hands with the government to deal a final blow to the illegality, especially as it is now glaring that it is a source of avoidable death as evidenced by the entrapped likely killed persons in a pit in the Western Region and a sure means of contaminating our water bodies.