Ghana: Come Again, Dr Letsa!

We have taken note of the concern expressed by the Volta Regional Minister, Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, with regard to illegal sand winning in the Keta and Ketu North districts of the Volta Region.

He describes the sand winning as the region’s own form of galamsey that must be dealt with.

Then he talks about the difficulty the Regional Co-ordinating Council was facing in stopping the menace because of influential people from the region backing those undertaking the illegal activity.

One serious issue he raises is the fact that the sad-winning is undermining the integrity of the sea defence wall done to protect the Keta coast.

Having made his points, the minister now appeals to all stakeholders to join in the fight to bring the canker to the barest minimum.

Those of us working on the Ghanaian Times think that Dr Letsa has let his guard down because once he makes reference to influential persons, it means he knows them.

As the regional minister, Dr Letsa doubles as the chairman of the Regional Security Council and has all the power of the state to act in its best interest.

Who is waiting for to act?

He has to use the right processes to bring the so-called influential people and their assigns to book.

We think Dr Letsa must do more than just expressing concern and giving the impression that he has lost hope in efforts to fight the devastating sand-winning.

To equate the sand-winning in the Volta Region to galamsey elsewhere depicts the seriousness of the matter.

Media reports show that the problem in the Volta Region has persisted for some time and the dynamics need to be considered deeply.

A July 5, 2021 Business and Financial Times (BFT) report online, for instance, has it that some Ghanaians were fronting for Chinese to win sand in the Volta Region.

The report headlined ‘Illegal, unregulated sand-winning in Volta River soars’ states that illegal sand-winning was escalating in the region, which means the activity had started long before the report was made.

What we are driving at is that the activity has taken root in the region and it must be stopped because the harm it is doing in the region is awful.

Imagine the damaging of the Keta sea defence wall, destruction of water bodies and roads, as well as environmental degradation among other negative impacts resulting from sand-winning in the region.

Even though we think the Volta Regional Minister has been soft for some time now, we commend him for renewing the call to pay attention to unregulated sand-winning across the country.

Considering the fact that the Minerals Commission categorises sand-winning as a small-scale mining operation, it must be regulated now and strictly monitored so that the country does not reach the point where a special, expensive and difficult war must be waged against it.

It is sad to learn that sand-winning contributes to the country losing about 2.7 million m2 of its ocean and river shores every year.

It is also heart-breaking to learn that a World Bank-Ghana Country Environmental Analysis states that the country loses some GH¢36billion ($6.3billion) to environmental degradation every year (and we need just $3billion from the IMF).

It is about time the Volta Regional Minister and all other state

officials became bold and discharged their duties without fear or favour to save our environment.

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