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Living in a mining area poses dangerous health threats – Inusah Fuseini

Former Lands and Natural Resources Minister Inusah Fuseini has urged the government to lead a concerted and determined effort to halt the activities of illegal miners in the country.

According to him, their activities are causing disruptions in mining communities’ ecosystems and endangering the lives and livelihoods of locals.

His concern stems from a case study report conducted by pathologist Professor Paul Opoku Sampene Ossei, who revealed that exposing pregnant mothers to harmful toxins in the air, and water bodies, and through the ingestion of foods grown on contaminated lands has resulted in an increase in birth defects, stillbirths, and maternal mortality in affected areas.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, Inusah Fusieni, the phenomenon is not surprising given the abundance of scientific data on similar cases in the country.

“It is always known, a known fact that heavy metals can cause dislocations in the eco-system in the mining areas.

They transfer unto us.

“So even grown-ups would suffer from kidney diseases because the heavy metals will finally lodge in the kidneys and impeded whatever development and function the kidney might serve the human body.

And the scientists have known that the environmentalists have known that.

Just visit the hospitals.”

He said he was aware of the harmful effects of unregulated use of heavy metals in Ghana’s small-scale sector while minister of lands and natural resources and added that its proliferation in these mining communities is largely due to ignorance of the harmful side effects they pose to both miners and locals.

“When I was Lands and Natural Resources Minister some eight years or so ago, it was already known to me that the use of heavy metals, unregulated use of heavy metals in the illegal mining sites were compromising our health, and the mothers and babies were likely to suffer the full brunt.

“I can tell you as a matter of fact that in one such visit to a mining area, we found a little boy trying to open a bottle containing mercury with his mouth.

He was ignorant, total absolute ignorance.”

Inusah Fuseini said while the country may tout earning a few billion from the small-scale mining sector, the cost to lives and livelihoods and the natural environment, in general, weighs heavier.

“That is why as we continue to count the cost of illegal mining activities, we must make a conscious determined effort to stop that illegal mining activity.

In fact, the cause is that if you do a natural resource accounting and yesterday I read the minister of lands and natural resources, Abu Jinapor, saying that we had gotten 1.2 billion from small-scale mining, in fact, we have lost more than we have gained from the small scale mining sector.

We have lost more than we have gained if you count illegal activities in the mining sector,” he said.

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