The Ghanaian government is set to clamp down on galamsey operations in order restore water bodies in the country which have been contacted by the artisinal gold mining operations carried out by them, says Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

As part of plans to clamp down on such illegal mining, the government will ban the dredging of water bodies and rivers which is usually carried out by illegal miners to allow the water bodies to contain the volume of water it is supposed to, even in the rainy seasons.

“That would also help curtail flooding of the water bodies when it rains and help restore the polluted rivers,” Prof Frimpong-Boateng told journalists here Monday on the sidelines of a regional workshop on the Building Resilience through Innovation, Communication Knowledge Services (BRICKS) project.

He said Ghana continued to face land and water issues including drying of rivers, polluted water bodies and overgrazing of grasslands, all leading to land degradation.

“Now all the major rivers are polluted to the extent that in some cases their water cannot be treated with methods employed by the water treatment companies. The surface water is no longer safe for domestic and agricultural purposes. It is only a question of time that the ground water that we rely on will be equally polluted. At this point our very existence will be in danger,” he said.

He added that since water and lands were finite, there was a need to work to manage and preserve what was existing for posterity.

Professor Frimpong-Boateng welcomed the BRICKS project which was being implemented in 12 African Countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Mali, Burkina Faso and Togo, with the aim of improving the resilience of landscapes and peoples’ livelihoods and contributing to poverty reduction and curbing the degradation of natural resources.

Addressing the opening of the three-day regional workshop, which is aimed at promoting collaboration and building a community of practice through the use of social media and collaborative web tools among the partners of the BRICKS project to disseminate information among stakeholders, he commended the partners for responding to the needs of most African countries and working to restore lost vegetation.