Diamonds are forever:How myths can contribute to land degradation by small-scale diamond mining in Akwatia, Ghana
Conventional literature on land degradation has largely focused on factors such as logging, farming, mining and construction to explain the causes of this phenomenon, paying little attention to what motivates the decisions behind these factors particularly in poor countries. One of the factors that is least explored but promises to shed light on our understanding of and tackling land degradation is myth and how myths motivate decisions made on the exploitation of land resources that result in land degradation. Using qualitative approaches in the study of land degradation caused by small-scale mining operations in Akwatia, we found that the myth that diamonds regenerate and the soul of the dead bring forth diamonds largely contributes to re-mining of already mined sites and reclaimed pits leading to extensive land degradation. Scientific research into these myths and education of the small-scale miners are important in addressing land degradation.
Key words: Small-scale Mining, Diamonds, Land degradation, Myths, Ghana