The Paediatric Society of Ghana (PSG) has called on the government to matter as of urgency put in place measures to effectively deal with the illegal mining menace popularly referred to as galamsey.
The Paediatric Society of Ghana in a communique after their just-ended annual general and scientific meeting warned against the continuous degradation of the environment as a result of illegal mining, – an act the society believes has dire consequences on the health of Children in and around mining communities.
The statement signed by the President of the Society, Dr. John Adabie Appiah explained that not only is the activity of illegal mining destroying the country’s forests, land, and water, but also significantly contributing to the deaths of children who have been exposed to chemicals used in galamsey.
“The PSG adds its voice to the numerous calls to curb the galamsey menace that is destroying our forests, land, water bodies and contributing significantly to deaths of children exposed to chemicals used in mining, falling into abandoned mine pits among others.” The communique read.
The society argued that by virtue of their size, immature immune system, and rapid growth and development, Children remain vulnerable to the effects of environmental degradation.
Not only are the adverse effects of environmental degradation linked to the health of children, but the PSG argues that the effects of the activities of illegal miners also lead to a delayed language acquisition, poor speech development, and an overall poor quality of life.
“Exposure to chemicals such as lead, mercury, arsenic and other heavy metals from inappropriate disposal of wastes and the “Galamsey” menace is contributing to deaths among children as well as cognitive deficits which affects their school performance and suspected to cause congenital malformations.”
According to the society, a ‘half-hearted approach’ in dealing with galamsey is bound to fail.
“This canker must not be allowed to fester or we will have ourselves to blame and posterity will not forgive us. Time is running out, we must act together in a concerted manner. Half-hearted solutions will certainly fail.”
The theme for the 2023 Annual General Meeting of the Paediatric Society of Ghana held in Kumasi was on the theme; “Environment health and children’s well being; a shared responsibility.”