The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has predicted that some key river bodies in the country may go extinct in the next few years due to illegal mining activities.
COCOBOD is worried that illegal mining activities, popularly known as galamsey, may adversely affect cocoa production on a large scale if measures are not taken to address the harm left by illegal miners.
COCOBOD added that a lot of these river bodies are heavily choked with silt which impedes the turbidity of the water.
Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee Sittings, the Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo bemoaned the devastating impact of galamsey on cocoa farming.
Mr. Aidoo warned that: “in the next twenty years, rivers such as the Pra, the Ankobra, and the Offin Rivers are going to disappear because we have a lot of silt discharged in them and eventually, all these rivers are going to disappear which tells us that in fifty years time, Ghana will have to import water because the rivers will be no more”.
He also bemoaned the health implications of the amount of mercury that is loosely used by illegal miners.
“We have a lot of mercury being discharged into these rivers which poses a lot of health risks not just for those who live on the corridors of these rivers, but it extends to some of us living in Accra. There is no galamsey happening in Accra, but for all you know, you go and buy tilapia or redfish, and it is laden with mercury from the sea or these rivers, and you will likely be affected.”