Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (right) and Ami Mehl (left)
The State of Israel, through its mission in Ghana, has offered the West African country its full support in the fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey).
A statement issued by Israeli Ambassador to Ghana, Ami Mehl, said Israel stands with Ghana in the anti-galamsey fight saying: “I would like to take this opportunity to applaud the government and the good people of Ghana for their determination and resolve to tackle the issue of illegal mining (galamsey) in the country.”
In the statement dated April 19, Mr Mehl said: “I consider my period of service in this beautiful country of Ghana, so far, as a great privilege. During this time I have travelled across Ghana and I have been welcomed by warm people and breathtaking landscape and natural adornments. Ghana is simply a beautiful country.
“Being blessed with such a beautiful country, it behoves us to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. It is my opinion that the exploitation of natural resource should not become a death sentence to forests, water bodies and the life they support. Furthermore, coming from a country that for many decades suffered existential threats due to water shortage, I hope that Ghana does not find herself facing a water crisis in the future.
“As Ambassador of the State of Israel to Ghana, and a former tour guide at the Society for Protecting the Nature in Israel, I wish to state my unalloyed support to the campaign against illegal mining and the fight to protect Ghana’s forests and water bodies. The state of Israel is fully behind Ghana in this fight and is ready to support the nation to recover from environmental degradation.
“I commend the Ghanaian media for coming together and joining forces with various institutions in championing the fight against galamsey. I believe that with the political will and support from all and sundry, Ghana will overcome the galamsey menace. Let us all say no to galamsey.”
The Akufo-Addo government declared zero tolerance for galamsey shortly after it assumed office in January this year. A 21-day ultimatum issued by Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, to all galamseyers to cease operations resulted in the withdrawal of 544 excavators and other earthmoving equipment after the deadline on Wednesday, 19 April.
The government said it would make sure the galamseyers do not return to their operations that have resulted in the destruction of several water bodies across the country as well as forests and cocoa farms.