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Ramsar site: Duty bearers must sit up


AS recently as in the 1980s, the Kpeshie, Korle and Chemu lagoons were babbling with aquatic life and activity. However, unbridled human activities have unfortunately led to the extinction of these rare resources that nature had gifted us as a people.

In their current state, the Chemu and Korle lagoons can no longer support any aquatic life because of very serious pollution over the years. The Kpeshie Lagoon has not been spared either as it is a pale shadow of itself.

As if to say that there is no usefulness for these resources and to hell with their proper management, large portions of the Kpeshie Lagoon have been recovered and sold to private and commercial developers. The hitherto active water body is now occupied by both residential and business structures.

Insult to Mother Nature

And as if that is not enough insult to mother nature and the sensibilities of a civilised society, we have looked on as a people while extensive portions of the lagoon have been filled with sand, construction debris and garbage.

The EcoWatch wants to caution strongly that there is every indication that as a people our unrestrained character and instincts to plunder every available resource without giving a thought to the repercussions for the future of the environment is nearing its crescendo.

Our greed has led us to the plunder of another vital resource – the Sakumo Lagoon, which is meant for protecting Sakumono, Tema, and their environs against floods. Curiously, it is the only wetland wholly owned by the government.

Concerns of Experts

In the front-page story of our last edition, the EcoWatch carried the concerns of experts who expressed fear that the Sakumo Lagoon would join others which have gone extinct in view of the impact of human activities in and around the lagoon.

The EcoWatch sees this as very baffling. It will be so unfortunate for the Sakumo Lagoon to go the road of once vibrant ones as the Kpeshie, Chemu and Korle lagoons.

We owe it a duty to drum home to all that the Sakumo Lagoon is not just any wetland. It is a wetland whose existence has been identified to benefit not only Ghana but the wider international community.

It was for this reason that the site was proposed for Ramsar designation in 1987 and was labelled as such in 1992, although by the time it was labelled about a third of the proposed area had been taken over by developers.

National Action

By its designation, a Ramsar site provides for a national action and international cooperation to protect it. The lagoon must thus attract state attention and the EcoWatch is calling on the authorities especially the ministries responsible for water resources and the environment to be up and doing to ensure the Sakumo Lagoon is protected from extinction.

We cannot imagine the embarrassment and opprobrium that Ghana will invite on itself among the comity of nations just because we could not take care of our own lagoon and protect it from people whose character is to abuse the environment and our resources.

Stand Up and be Counted

The citizenry must stand up and be counted and not be seen to be the generation that came and plundered every resource that was bestowed on us by nature, and which had existed for millions of years before our time.

The greed and avarice, the total disregard for environmental laws and the loud silence of authorities that have been mandated, in many cases with the allocation of huge resources to execute their mandate, must end at a point.

The country is already a witness to the effects of such uncontrolled scramble and uncaring attitude toward our vital resources.  The recent floods, at the least drizzle, must be a wake-up call to all of us.

We must be able to say enough is enough and preserve the environment for the benefit of both current and generations unborn.

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