As Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark World Earth Day, the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei- Mensah has warned Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in the region that government will not shield appointees who engage in illegal mining in their respective areas.

He says these acts have proven to be very detrimental to the environment.

According to him, the government will severely deal with any appointee who indulges in the practice.

Speaking to the media, he urged the MMDCEs to collaborate with him and security agencies effectively in dealing with the matter.

“We are going to be tough on all the MMDCEs. Anybody who engages in the activities of illegal mining, we will deal with the person sternly because if the President says he has put his presidency on the line to fight against illegal mining and we who are the representatives of the president are rather engaging in galamsey, then we are not faithful to the President and for that matter, we cannot represent him.”

“If you want to represent the President, then we should do what the President asks us to do and not otherwise. I am the chairman of the Regional Security Council, the MMDCEs also chair the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Security Councils, so they would have to take action in their respective areas. Once the person takes action, we cannot take sanctions against the person. For instance, Galamsey is like black market, you can arrest the person today here, next time, he is at the other side engaging in the black marketing activity. So as MMDCEs, your responsibility is to find out that anytime people are engaging in illegal mining, once you are the heads of the various security councils, you should draw the attention of the police and military. For the military, they should draw my attention to it because they are under the regional minister”.

He made this statement at Bosome Freho where the ministry in collaboration with the Manhyia Palace, the US Embassy, and the District Assemblies of Bosomtwe and Bosome Freho, has begun an exercise to plant two thousand trees at Lake Bosomtwe to preserve it.

The Programmes Coordinator of the Asante Kingdom Restoration Programme, Fred Kyei on behalf of the Manhyia Palace has been spearheading an exercise in protecting water bodies within the Ashanti Region.

Human activities have been cited as the main factors endangering the existence of various water bodies.

Earlier this year, the Manhyia Palace asked a private developer to plant 59,800 trees after he cut down 598 trees at the banks of Lake Bosomtwe in order to undertake a project.

For every tree cut, he was asked to replace it with one hundred new trees.

In line with this, the Ashanti Regional Minister has cautioned inhabitants and developers that persons caught engaging in human activities close to the lake would be severely dealt with as recent activities have caused it to shrink.

“We beg everybody, with the trees that we have planted, if you find anybody cutting down any of the trees, you should report the person to the police. If you find anybody burning them especially during the dry season, we have to report the person to the police. We have to be serious about whatever we are doing. We cannot come here and spend energy and resources and plant trees and unpatriotic citizens of the land, will also come and destroy them. So we are going to be very serious, and we will deal with anybody who tries to destroy the trees that we’ve planted”.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan also emphasized the need for Ghanaians to protect the environment.

“This is a call to action to renew our commitment to a healthier and more resilient future for our people and our planet alike. Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and Ghana like the United States, is no stranger to these challenges. Climate change will affect local water sources, energy supplies, crop production, and food security”.

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