Story by REJOICE DOGBER
All Nations University College, developers of Ghana Sat-1, the nation’s first satellite which was launched into space on 7th July 2017, has commenced work on a subsequent satellite named Ghana Sat-2 which is believed to help curb illegal mining activities popularly known as Galamsey in the country.
The student developers have started work and are determined to develop Sat-2 with sharper lens and augmented features to help pinpoint and capture accurate images that will capacitate the state in the fight against galamsey operations.
Quansah Joseph a technical member of the space-satellite (Space-Sat) laboratory of All-Nations University, the lab that developed the Ghana Sat-1 in an interview with some media personnel on the side-line of GreatX, an event organised by the British Council Ghana to celebrate young talents in technology, revealed the composition of Sat-2.
“For every project, the aim is to benefit the society or solve a problem and we know the persisting problem of the country now is illegal mining which is polluting our water bodies and also degrading our land sites, so we want to use satellite technology to help curb this problem.
Whatever data we get from the satellite, we analyse it and give early information to the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), minerals commission, Operation Vanguard and all other institutions that are responsible for the fight against galamsey in the country,” he said.
Ghana Sat-1 which came with the ability to take aerial photograph of the country, is currently used to monitor the coastal belt of Ghana and it is believed that it will help to detect any act of intrusion into the country via the sea as well as piracy on the high seas.
Joseph further indicated that, in satellite technology, one must first of all build the necessary experience needed and get the basics right in terms of meeting international standards which was what they did with Sat-1 and they are now experts in developing a satellite so it is now easier going into Ghana Sat-2 which is an advance version.
Galamsey is one social phenomenon that has received a lot of attention and discussion on media and other platforms nation-wide, the subject matter has been discussed widely in view of the immediate and long-term effects in sectors such as; the environment, agriculture, habitation and livelihoods as a whole.
It is estimated that about 90% of inland water bodies which serve as source of drinking water to local communities have been destroyed by galamsey activities, with highly polluted ones being the Birim, Pra, Tano, Densu, Ankobra and Ayensu rivers amongst others.
The pollution of rivers also has significant effects on the activities of the Ghana Water Company in its mandate to provide safe drinking water to Ghanaians. For instance, a few years ago the Ghana Water Company shut down a water treatment plant due to the fact that the level of pollutant was unbearable and chemicals used for treating polluted water had become expensive.
Government commissioned a taskforce called operation vanguard in early 2017 to help curb galamsey operations in the country which has been successful to some level but lack of logistics, inadequate personnel and inaccessibility of some areas coupled with the ‘hide and seek’ lives style of galamseyers as well as mid-night operations by some of them has been a big challenge to the taskforce.
The country is spending a lot of money on dealing with the illegal mining menace however, with satellite technology, the country will spend less amount of money to deal with it and it is also time effective which will enable emergency response to any location that will be spotted.
To facilitate processes and bring the dream to birth in the shortest possible time, the developers are seeking for funding support from government as the estimated cost involve in creating an advancement is much higher than that of the previous one which was solely funded by the institution.