Victoria’s Research Stay in Ghana with BPSA

Victoria’s Research Stay in Ghana with BPSA

Victoria Ayesu-Atsu studies Environmental Sciences at the University of Landau. She went to Ghana from 28.06.-29.07.2023 for a research stay within the framework of the BPSA program to collect data for her Master’s thesis on unregistered mining activities in Ghana.

Do you savor the rich, comforting taste of a steaming bowl of fish soup? I know I do. There’s something magical about the way those savory flavors blend together, warming not just your body but your soul. But what if I told you that the fish you enjoy in that delightful soup in Ghana might be connected to a dark and destructive practice?

In Ghana, a land known for its vibrant culture and stunning landscapes, there’s a hidden issue that threatens not just our favorite dishes but also the health of our environment and our fellow Ghanaians. It’s called „galamsey,“ a term that’s become all too familiar in recent years.

What is Galamsey? Galamsey, short for „gather and sell,“ refers to the illegal mining activities that have plagued Ghana’s natural resources. It’s a practice that, like a cancer, has spread across the nation, leaving scars on the land and endangering the livelihoods of countless communities.

Why has galamsey become so prevalent? I explored this question during my BPSA, in which I collected data on unregistered mining activities in Ntoroso, a small town in the Ahafo region of Ghana, for my MA thesis. The reasons are as complex as they are concerning. Poverty, lack of alternative livelihoods, greed and the allure of quick profits have driven many individuals and groups to engage in these illegal mining operations. With rudimentary equipment and disregard for environmental regulations, they extract gold and other minerals from the earth, often near water bodies. Mercury is used to wash gold dust, meaning that this seemingly lucrative venture comes at an enormous cost to the environment and our food supply, and has a hidden impact on our beloved fish dishes.

Author: Victoria Ayesu-Atsu (ayes2477(a)