Graphic Business News

Fight against coastal erosion gains momentum next year

By: Kester Aburam Korankye
 Shoreline recession  has deprived some coastal communities of their livelihood
Shoreline recession has deprived some coastal communities of their livelihood

IN an effort to halt shoreline recession on the country’s 580 kilometre coastline, the government will next year, commit some US$200 million to the coastal protection project.

The amount will be used to fund various infrastructural projects along the country’s coast targeted at fighting sea erosion, which has become prevalent over the years.

The intervention is expected to significantly boost the country’s sea defence efforts significantly to preserve and develop coastal communities whose livelihood is dependent on sea resources.

The Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof  Frimpong Boateng, who dropped the hints, said some US$150 million of the amount had been allocated to the Western Region alone.

He said the interventional project, which was expected to take off in the first half of 2019, would involve a mix of hard and soft engineering solutions to permanently halt shoreline recession which has deprived some coastal communities their livelihoods.   

 “This will mean protecting coastal habitats such as mangrove and rocky shores and rock pools while putting in place hard structures where needed”, he said at a ceremony in Accra last week.

Age-old problem
For decades, the country has been experiencing severe sea erosion at various points along the coastline predominantly in the Volta estuary basin, at Keta and Ada.

Generally, the natural features of the country’s coastline comprise a series of sandy beaches and also rock outcrops but extensive erosion wears away the sandy beaches and exposes communities along the beach to tidal waves.

The predominant occurrences have resulted in the migration of fishing communities from the coast while those who remain to survive on fishing are subjected to disasters.

Pressure on the sea
These incidents have significantly impacted the country’s sea resources and in effect, the well being of the communities whose livelihood is dependent on fishing.

For instance, Prof Frempong Boateng disclosed that the country was losing about 2.7 million square meters of shoreline annually due to sea erosion although the demands of increasing commerce and industrialisation had already imposed a lot of pressure on the sea and its resources.

“We see intensification of fishing, shipping, hydrocarbon activities, ports development, and conversion of sensitive marine and coastal habitats in the quest to create wealth and deliver human wellbeing,” he said.

However, he said the South Atlantic, comprising the Abidjan Convention Region, which includes Ghana, was noted for its productive ecosystem with enormous potential to contribute to global prosperity and must be safeguarded for the future generation.

“The Abidjan Conversation Region has three very productive Large Marine Ecosystems. Annual fish yields in the Guinea Current region alone is over 1.5 million tons. Ghana contributes about 400,000 metric tons”.

Sea defence projects
Other sea defence projects of the government include the New Takoradi Sea Defence Project, the Amanful Kumah Coastal Protection Works, the Dixcove Coastal Protection Works, the Nkontompo Coastal Protection Works and Axim Coastal Protection Works, all in the Western Region.

It also includes the Cape Coast Coastal Protection Works and the Komenda Coastal Protection Works in the Central Region.