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Urgent research needed on Galamsey chemicals’ impact on health and nutrition – Dr. Justina Owusu

Dr. Justina Owusu.

By Gloria Anderson 

A dietician and lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr. Justina Owusu, has highlighted the critical need for comprehensive research into the effects of chemicals utilised in galamsey on human health and nutrition. 

Speaking to GBC Online’s Gloria Anderson on the sidelines of QNET’s  commemoration of World Health Day, Dr. Owusu underscored the alarming correlation between these chemicals and the essential nutrients absorbed by plants from the soil.

“When we plant crops, the crops will take the nutrients that they need from the soil. So whether you are going to harvest the leaf, the tuber, or the stem, whatever is in the soil will also be part.” 

QNET is a lifestyle and wellness company that uses direct selling business model to offer a wide selection of exclusive products that enable individuals to embrace a healthier and more balanced life. “QNET, as part of its 26th anniversary, has dedicated the month of April to creating awareness about the need to choose a healthy lifestyle,” Dr. Owusu explained.

Expressing concern over the widespread use of chemicals in galamsey activities, Dr. Owusu emphasised the potential repercussions on human well-being.

“Now we know that Galamsey, they are using all kinds of chemicals and where these chemicals go, if they are going into the soil, then our crops are also going to feed on it. And that is going to end up in our diet one way or the other,” she cautioned.

Despite acknowledging a lack of extensive research in the field, Dr. Owusu urged stakeholders to join forces in addressing the issue. “Agric officers, nutritionists, food researchers, everybody should come on board and let’s do heavy metal or let’s look at the metal that they are using for the galamsey in the crops or the fruit around the areas the galamsey is going on,” she urged.

Furthermore, Dr. Owusu called for an increased advocacy efforts to raise awareness about the issue and urged regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action. “EPA should also look at controlling how much of these chemicals are being produced or released,” she asserted.

Dr. Owusu stressed the importance of finding sustainable solutions that prioritise both environmental preservation and public health. “Those in environmental [protection], if they still want to help people in Galamsey, they should find a way of using fewer chemicals or find a way of doing so that we can still have our food the way it is,” she concluded.

As concerns grow over the long-term impact of galamsey on Ghana’s health and nutrition landscape, Dr. Justina Owusu’s call for urgent action resonates as a crucial step towards safeguarding the well-being of communities across the nation.

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