EU urged to support Ghana reclaim lands

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng has appealed to the Delegation of the European Union to Ghana to support the country with financial resources to reclaim lands which have been destroyed through illegal mining.

He said about 10 per cent (23,000 square kilometres) of the country’s arable lands have been destroyed through illegal mining and would require huge financial resources to reclaim the degraded lands.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng made the appeal in Accra yesterday when the Head of Delegation, William Hanna paid a courtesy call on him to congratulate him on his appointment and discuss measures to combat climate change.

Mr Hanna was accompanied by the Ambassador of Denmark, Tove Degnbol, Ambassador of Italy, Giovanni Favili, Deputy Head of Mission at the Embassy of Germany, Bernhard Abels, and Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of Czech Republic, Jaroslave Zukerstein.

The minister said the activities of illegal miners, popularly known as ‘galamsey’ operators, had destroyed large tracts of arable lands in eight of the 10 regions of the country.

He said government had taken a strong stance on galamsey and was doing all it could within the law to nip the practice in the bud, to protect the country’s environment.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng hinted of the intention of the government to ban polythene bags to preserve the environment.

He also disclosed that the government was developing a National Biodiversity Policy and the policy, which would come into force by the end of the year, would deal with environmental challenges such as illegal mining.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng entreated the EU to assist Ghana to control the importation of weedicides, which, he said, was creating serious environmental problems for the country.

Mr Hanna pledged the EU’s support to Ghana to enable her implement policies to combat climate change and deal with the environmental challenges facing the country.

He said the visit to Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was to discuss areas the EU could collaborate with the country to deal with climate change, and invited him to an upcoming conference in Bonn, Germany to discuss the appropriate use of chemicals.

Mr Hanna said the EU was already supporting Ghana to combat illegal logging and fishing as part of EU’s effort to combat climate change, and stressed that the European Union would support developing countries to combat the effects of climate change.

Ms Degnbol lauded the efforts of Ghana to deal with electronic waste and said Denmark was supporting the Climate Innovation Centre at Ashesi University, to come out with smart technologies such as clean stoves to help combat climate change.

Mr Favili said though Italy had no programme with Ghana concerning the environment, it was supporting the EU to help developing countries, including Ghana, to combat climate change.

By Kingsley Asare

 

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