The Densu river basin in the Eastern Region of Ghana is on the brink of being completely destroyed following the invasion of illegal miners in the area.
With the ongoing destruction of the river, residents of Protroase in the Abuakwa South Constituency who also depend on the river as their main source of drinking water told ghenvironment.org that, the rate at which the river is being destroyed by the Illegal miners is making them restless.
The Densu River is a 116 km long river in Ghana rising in Atewa Range and spans through 11 Local Government Assemblies in three regions such as Central, Eastern and Greater Accra Region. it is also part of the three major water bodies in the Eastern Region providing portable drinking water for adjacent communities and about five million downstream users in the Greater Accra Region.
But, recent cases of illegal mining activities is threatening the survival of the all important river, especially when the illegal act is being carried out with impunity.
"The headwater of Densu comes from Obuasi, a farming community few meters from here. We don’t know where these illegal miners came from and they started mining at where the headwater of Densu is and that is very dangerous to our livelihood, a resident of Portroase said.
According to the residents, another river that is also being affected by the illegal mining activities is the Anko River and they are also helpless as to how they can stop them.
For his part, former assembly member of Potroase, Mr E. T. Mensah, said, even though people are afraid to publicly exposed those behind the illegal act, it is imperative that they speak out because their silence can lead to the complete destruction of the river.
"They are really destroying the Densu River and if we sit down and watch, there will be no Densu in just a week time as the current state of the river calls for urgent action", he said.
Mr Mensah blamed the Assembly member for the area and her Unit Committee members including the Asafoakye for endorsing the illegality just to enrich themselves.
"Mind you, we are not the only people depending on the Densu River. The people of Nsawam and Weija in Accra also depend on it. Imagine the number of people who will be affected, he said.
He alleged that, the illegal miners are armed and they are always ready to shoot anyone who dare to complain about their activities. Adding "A young man recently fell in one of the pits of the illegal miners and died and this is what is going on and they want us to be quite".
Miners defy police arrest
In January this year, some miners claiming to be working under the name of the Odumase Community Mining Programme were arrested by the Kyebi Police Command in the East Akim Municipal Assembly of the Eastern Region.
The arrest of the miners followed a complaint filed by the environmental NGO, A Rocha Ghana, to the Police and the Water Resource Commission, over the destruction of the Densu river basin through their unregulated mining activities.
But information available to ghenvironment.org has it that, the miners who were arrested have all been released as the concession is said to belong to the ruling NPP chairman in the area.
The residents are therefore appealing to the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo to do something about the situation or they will demonstrate against him.
Story by Kofi Mitchell