heir letter to the President is titled ‘Galamsey Reminder Charity Begins At Home
In their letter, they stated the number of times they’ve written to the President regarding this galamsey economy while find ourselves of which this current one makes it number 7. But all 6 letters haven’t received the needed attention by the President.
The letter reads:
This past Monday, even as we sent you our 6th reminder about fighting Galamsey, you were in Egypt at the COP27 launching the Forest and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP) with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. The FCLP is a forum that seeks to find solutions to reduce forest loss, increase restoration and support sustainable development. A sentence from your speech that day deserves repeating: ‘Forest loss can be averted.’
The next day, at another meeting at the COP27 you said, ‘With her vast land, Africa has the greatest potential to help decarbonise the world by absorbing carbon dioxide through regenerative agriculture that requires less fertiliser and reforestation with strong biodiversity content.’ And as head of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, you started your address on 8 November 2022 to the forum with these words about the risk of climate change, ‘…Development is at risk. Our health is at risk. And our survival, even, is at risk.’
However, when we juxtapose your words in Egypt this past week to what is going on in the illegal small-scale gold mining industry aka Galamsey, we find you wanting.
A study that was published by Ghanaian and American researchers working with data from NASA satellites shows that between 2005 and 2019, Ghana has been losing about 2600 ha/yr of forests to Galamsey! That is 26 square kilometres. (Bareblitt et al, 2021). The city of Kumasi is 254 square km. That means at the rate we are going, land the size of Kumasi is deforested every 9 to 10 years. At the increased level of irresponsible mining we are seeing presently, it could be faster.
Your words on deforestation do not jell with facts on the ground. Even though since the implementation of the Cocoa Forest REDD+ program about a decade ago Ghana has reduced carbon emissions from cocoa farming by 972,456 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), we argue that Galamsey is busily replacing that reduced amount with carbon dioxide.
The same cited paper by Bareblitt and her group shows that the carbon footprint of Galamsey is seven times that of the traditional pit mines. Data from S&P Global Intelligence (2019) shows that surface mining of gold emits 0.85 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) for every ounce of gold mined. That means mining 1.14 million ounces of gold through Galamsey will replace the carbon reduction through REDD+.
In 2018 alone, 1.984 million ounces of gold were mined through Galamsey. This means that the much-touted carbon reduction through the REDD+ program that was achieved over a decade or less can be undone by Galamsey activities in less than a year!
Mr President, you are right about the dangers of climate change and the fact that we are unprepared for its effects. However, we can do much at home to stem this problem and we can start with controlling Galamsey.
Let charity begin at home. Do this for God and your country.
Yours in the Service of God and Ghana,
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