Environmental Rights Issues vis-à-vis the Impacts of Unregulated Artisanal Small-Scale Mining
This study examines human and environmental rights issues in unregulated artisanal small-scale mining and its impact on the communities in the Mpohor District of the Western Region of Ghana. Mixed methods approach and descriptive survey design were employed in this study. Purposive and simple random techniques were employed to select 117 participants. Structured questionnaire and semi-structured interview guide were the instruments used for data collection. SPSS software was used to analyse the quantitative data, while thematic analysis was used to analyse the qualitative data. Findings of this study were that unregulated mining activities polluted most of the water bodies within the district. This led to the destruction of most farmlands and removed the vegetation containing important species supporting mans’ survival. It also increased erosion and loss of viability for agricultural purposes, among other uses. Also, unregulated Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM) denied residents the right to clean water, health, and arable land, displacing people from their natural residence and inflation occurring which negatively affect the wellbeing of the local population. Also, children engaged in mining and this deprive them of their education and spreading problems of psychological or behavioural nature such as alcoholism and prostitution. It is recommended that government should embark on education of the effects of unregulated ASM on the health, environment, and the livelihood of the indigenous populace, and its associated socio-economic impact on posterity. Also, the government can develop and invest in legalizing unregulated ASM and enforcing laws and policies to reduce the environmental hazards in the communities.