A new study has revealed that galamsey sites are not safe for farming activities until after 10 years.
This according to the research is due to high concentration of mercury and arsenic chemicals in the soil.
The research titled “Feasibility Study for Restoration Project” was conducted by Form International Ghana, a subsidiary of Form International, a Sustainable Forestry Investment firm in Netherland in collaboration with Soil Research Institute of Center for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – Ghana on mapping of mining and abandoned mining areas.
The researchers disclosed that food crops cultivated on these galamsey sites have the potential of accumulating high amount of mercury and arsenic concentrations in the soil which is harmful to consumers.
They have therefore recommended that farming must be prohibited on galamsey sites until after 10 years of reclamation and restoration processes.
The lead researcher, Rutger De Wolf, a Senior Consultant with Form International (Netherlands) explained that the soil quality test performed during the research showed that mercury content in the abandoned galamsey sites is as high as 58 ppm more than the safe threshold of less than 1ppm.
He also indicated that Arsenic content was between 36-117 ppm higher than the safe threshold of less than 20 ppm.
“As a result, the research concluded that due to the alarming Mercury and Arsenic contamination, none of the visited and tested sites are currently safe for food production. It is only good for non-food production such as planting economic trees, nitrogen fixing plants, and shrubs which leaves or backs must be tested before being used for herbal medicine to avoid endangering lives”, Mr. De Wolf said.
The report also revealed that the Birim river has been contaminated with high levels of mercury.