Michelle Castaneda. Gold Mining in Ghana. Photo Credits to Allan Lissner.
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A recent research conducted by Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana reveals evidence of awful human rights abuses in mining communities, ranging from widespread pollution of water sources, deprivation and loss of livelihoods.
The 2009 Ghana Mining report has criticized government for only having interest in making money in the Gold industry and disregarding the plight of mine affected people.
The report said, in spite of the numerous criticisms by human rights activists and environmentalists, foreign players continue to exploit legal loopholes and abuse both human rights as well as the environment to the detriment of humanity.
ActionAid research found that poor communities in Ghana are suffering serious environmental pollution and social problems as a result of gold mining by a subsidiary of the UK-based mining giant Anglo American.
Local rivers and streams have become polluted with arsenic, iron, manganese and heavy metals from gold mining activities.
Large areas of land in Ghana previously used for cultivation are believed to have been contaminated through toxic water pollution and local people’s water sources are undrinkable.
"They’ve told us it is poisonous because of the cyanide. Because I can’t sell my crops, my income has gone down." Local resident Mr Tessa says. As a result, he has had to take his children out of school.
Health problems of gold miners include decreased life expectancy; increased frequency of cancer of the trachea, bronchus, lung, stomach, and liver; increased frequency of pulmonary tuberculosis (PTB), silicosis, and pleural diseases; increased frequency of insect-borne diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever; noise-induced hearing loss; increased prevalence of certain bacterial and viral diseases; and diseases of the blood, skin, and musculoskeletal system.
Another health hazard is the exposure of Mercury on the miners.
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