From Samuel Duodu, Sunyani.
Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), a local environmental and human rights advocacy non-governmental organisation operating in the Brong Ahafo Region and some parts of Ghana, has urged the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to speed-up with their investigation on the Cyanide spillage around Gyakarom in the Asutifi District of Brong Ahafo Region caused by Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL).
The Executive Director of LEG, Mr Richard Adjei-Poku made the call when he called on Mr Sylvester Awozum the officer- in- charge of Mining at the Brong Ahafo Regional office in Sunyani. He said the people in the spill area were afraid of eating their own planted vegetables as well as food crops simply because the company has asked them not to drink from any of the water in the polytank provided by the company.
According to him, if the situation was allowed to continue it could affect the people psychologically and therefore there was the need to have the Laboratory result immediately to be able to determine the level of cyanide pollution and whether or not it was good for the people to continue to stay there and continue eating from the place.
Mr Adjei also reminded EPA to speed up with their investigations on the issue of Manu –shed community and it environs.
He said Newmont had not been responsive to social, economic and environment concerns of the people of Manu-shed and its environs in the Asutifi District of Brong Ahafo Region.
Mr Adjei said the people in the area were facing a number of problems such as water pollution.
He said the sources of drinking water for the communities was polluted as a result of the waste materials drain from the mines, air pollution had also resulted in coughing by the people, especially children, dust pollution particularly during the dry season had made vegetable unsuitable for eating and the company’s vehicles over-speed at the centre of the villages which makes it a threat to life ,particularly children and domestic animal.
Again, he said regular blasting by the company had resulted in cracks on their buildings leading to fear and trauma among children in the communities, the prevalence of mosquitoes due to the proximity of company to a waste dump, standing water and ponds and the 24hours heavy noise pollution by the mining plant and the heavy trucks had made sleeping unpleasant for the people.
Mr Adjei said any time they met with the company, they promised to put measures in place to mitigate the problems but had failed to fulfil them and therefore appealed to the EPA and other relevant agencies to intervene to ensure that the right time was done.
Mr Awozum for his part pledged that the EPA would investigate the concerns raised by LEG and the people to ensure that there was safety in the area.