Environmentalists have expressed serious concerns about the rate of coastal erosion in the central region due to increased human activities along the waterfront.
They said the region loses around four meters of its coastline each year due to unregulated sand mining and warned of dire socio-economic and environmental consequences if stringent measures were not taken immediately to address it. to what they described as “looming disaster”.
In addition, they said that by comparing satellite images from 2014 and photographic maps from 2005, the researchers observed that 37% of the 550 km of coastal land had been destroyed by erosion and flooding between 2005 and 2017.
Environmentalists gave the warning during an open forum during the first meeting of heads of decentralized departments of the Central region with Ms. Justina Marigold Assan, the regional minister.
The forum allowed the minister to sell her vision and officially introduce herself to the heads of ministries, departments and agencies in the region for their support.
Mr. Frank Martey Korli, central regional director of the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA), described the pronounced erosion of beaches, particularly in Cape Coast, Elmina and some coastal communities, as a breach in the national quest for protection of beach resources.
Currently, he said, the situation has worsened, with the shoreline retreating several meters inland in some places due to strong waves and anthropogenic erosion.
It also affected nesting sites of threatened marine habitats and landing sites used by traditional fishermen and added that “the collapse of the once thriving small-scale coconut industry on the waterfront shows the effect. erosion on coastal vegetation “.
He blamed the waterfront development on some politicians who ignore the effects of global warming, building regulations or the legal and environmental ramifications of their actions and called for political will to tackle the problem. problem once and for all.
“Our health will improve when land use planning is done well. I therefore plead that we obtain the plan urgently, ”he implored.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) central regional director Mr. Shine Fiagome, who expressed similar sentiments, added that the EPA, in addition to educating the public, had installed signs prohibition to gain sand along the coast to ward off these social disbelievers, but in vain.
Nonetheless, he assured that the agency was working with the police, the Minerals Commission (MC) and the Coastal Development Authority (CoDA), among others, to crack down on the harmful activities of illegal sand fishermen, especially on beaches.
Others concerned expressed disapproval of the situation, but said coastal communities around the world had become vulnerable to a wide range of potential dangers – coastal erosion, coastal flooding and degradation of coastal resources.
However, they claimed that in Ghana many problems were exacerbated by climate change and rapid urbanization, as well as the concomitant anthropogenic changes to beaches that influence other coastal processes.
Many institutions involved, including the Ghana News Agency (GNA), the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), the Statistical Service, the Fisheries Commission, the Center for National Culture and the Regional Coordination Council (RCC) expressed support. to protect the beaches.