According to journalist Erastus Asare Donkor of JoyNews, the condition of the Tano River has deteriorated even further compared to last year.
Asare Donkor, who has been investigating illegal mining activities, found that while there were fewer active galamsey (illegal mining) sites in the areas he previously covered, there were numerous uncovered pits, indicating ongoing mining activities.
Moreover, illegal miners have shifted their operations upstream, directly mining in the Tano River itself, leading to increased pollution and turbidity of the water.
Asare Donkor noted that the presence of Chinese miners at these illegal mining sites is in violation of Ghanaian mining laws, as these areas are reserved for Ghanaian miners.
He expressed shock at witnessing alluvial washing bays situated directly at the edge of the Tano River, indicating a deliberate intention to wash mining waste directly into the river. The once vibrant Tano River, which used to support life in the surrounding forest and towns, is now described as dead due to pollution.
The consequences of the pollution are alarming, with an exponential increase in cases of babies born with congenital deformities, cognitive impairments, stillbirths, and maternal mortality in the areas bordering the Tano River.
A case study conducted by Pathologist Professor Paul Opoku Sampene Ossei revealed that expecting mothers’ exposure to harmful toxins in the air, water bodies, and contaminated food has led to these adverse outcomes.
The birth defects range from cognitive impairments to stillbirths, and children born with limb deformities, such as having extra limbs or eyes located in unusual areas. Some babies are born without genitals, while others suffer from polydactyl, a condition where their limbs have additional digits.
These alarming health issues are attributed to the contamination caused by illegal mining activities along the Tano River.