The Director at the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies at the University of Ghana, Prof. Erasmus Henaku Owusu, has urged the government to consider using technology to monitor the encroachment of the country’s protected forest reserve.
He has acknowledged the government’s decision to use drones to monitor illegal mining activities but believes that the usage of geospatial technology will be more efficient.
Prof. Henaku Owusu says that geospatial technology will help authorities with real-time monitoring and tracking of what is happening on the grounds.
“We need to come out with systems that will monitor for us without so much human efforts. I ask myself, what if we invested in geospatial technology for real-time monitoring and tracking of what is going on. You will be in your office, have the satellite up there and everything is being monitored and you will know what is happening, and deploy your people,” he suggested on You and The Environment on Radio Univers 105.7FM
The member of the National Biodiversity Committee warns of dire consequences if the encroachment of reserves is not dealt with.
He disclosed that about 26 of the country’s reserves across six regions have been lost due to the encroachment of illegal miners.
He also said that their actions have affected the country’s hydrological systems, creating dangerous problems for everyone.
There are 26 reserves, that illegally, people have entered to misbehave, doing illegal mining. Eight in the Ashanti Region, five in Western North, Eight in Western Region, Two in Eastern Region, One in Savannah, and Two in Upper East. Most of these reserves are gone through illegal activities and the problem becomes even more compounded because, all the reserves are headwaters, therefore, as you destroy them, then the problem goes into the water systems and it even becomes more dangerous for everybody,” he said.
Prof. Henaku Owusu believes that the fight against illegal mining cannot be won if there is no holistic agenda, devoid of politics, to end the menace.
He also suggests that alternative employment is created for persons involved in such illegal mining.
Although he says that the alternative employment may not be as lucrative as what they earn from illegal mining, Prof. Owusu believes that it will be a good place to start from.
“We have gotten to a situation where if you provide them with alternative opportunities for employment, they are going to compare. But I have always been thinking that we should start from somewhere because illegal mining itself is not an easy job,” he added.
Story by: Jeffrey Nyabor | universnewsroom.com