Water bodies in the Kumbungu District are under serious threats following excessive sand winning in the area.
The banks of the White Volta basin have been the target of sand winning activities and the surrounding natural vegetation has been affected beyond imagination. The thick forest cover now belongs to history.
Sand winning activities have been taking place in several areas in the Kumbungu districts for decades. However, the activities have reached a level that raises fears among the locals.
Affected areas include Nawuni, where the Ghana Water Company’s intake plant is situated, Gburun Kabani, and Logibani all under the jurisdiction of Dalun.
The chief of Kasuliyili has stopped the activities at the Afayili site which is in the Kumbungu district but controlled by Kasuli Lana. Heavy equipment and excavators sighted by Zaa News invaded the district for about three weeks now, shocking many locals.
Some of the equipment have been identified by the authorities of Kumbungu district assembly as belonging to a vigilante group of NPP in Tamale called Khadahar boys.
Two other groups who brought same heavy equipment the assembly are yet to be identified.
Both have been directed to stop sand winning activities until the Environmental Protection Agency carries out an assessment in the area. Residents and some assembly members say the wanton destruction of the environment could lead to serious climate change issues.
The residents say, they are not entirely against sand winning which has been in the area for decades and conducted manually but they are against the presence of heavy equipment and the damage they are causing to the environment.
According to the residents, the level of destruction of the environment is scary and if care is not taken, a water crisis will hit the northern region. The perennial flooding from Nawuni to Singa was not seen this year and residents believe worse things are yet to happen should the excavators continue to carry out sand winning activities.
Again, the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso was not opened this year because the Burkinabe now find ways of making good use of the water. The presiding member of the Assembly Mr. Iddrisu Dawuda spoke to Zaa News on the development and appealed to chiefs in the area to join hands in finding a solution to the issue.
The arrival of the equipment, Mr. Dawuda said, has created unemployment among more than 500 youth who are engaged in the manual loading of sand.
"It is a security concern to us because we don't know what is going on in the minds of these youth in the coming weeks. They have families they feed through the activities and now they are jobless," he said.
He explained further that after the assembly issued an order to stop activities on the banks of the river, the chief of Dalun saw nothing wrong and said activities could go on. He is the custodian of the land and we have no power over him, the PM said.
Will "Operation Vanguard," a taskforce set up by the government to save the country's environment be tasked with protecting Ghana's water bodies, too?
The 400 security men made up of personnel of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) and the Police Service have been divided into three groups to cover the Ashanti, Eastern and Western regions. Their mandate is to end illegal mining that has destroyed water bodies in the country.