Sakumo Lagoon lands under seige

Some recalcitrant developers are fast reclaiming land from the Sakumo Lagoon for building purposes.

This is in effect limiting the size of the lagoon and could lead to serious flooding during heavy rainfall in areas such as Sakumono and some communities in Tema.

The Sakumo Lagoon serves as a reservoir and an outlet for flood waters in the surrounding communities to flow into the sea.

The development is also destroying the Sakumo Ramsar site which is home to 80 species of birds, some of which migrate from Europe between November and April to avoid the winter’s cold.

This came to light on Friday, when members of the Tema Metropolitan Security Committee inspected flood prone areas in the metropolis to have firsthand information to deal with the situation.

The areas visited were Communities 5, 3, 18 and 19.

When the committee got to the Ramsar site at Community 5, it was observed that an area about the size of three football fields had been reclaimed from the lagoon but none of the developers was seen at the site.

The Tema Metropolitan NADMO Co-ordinator, Hajia Zenabu Abdulai, said all warnings to the developers to stop work had “fallen on deaf ears.”

She noted that checks at the Tema Development Corporation and the Tema Metropolitan Assembly proved that no developer had been permitted to carryout development in the Ramsar site.

According to her, staff of NADMO on Wednesday led the Community 2 Police to impound one of the trucks used by the developers to dump stones and sand at the site.

Hajia Abdulai intimated that if drastic measures were not taken to stop developers their action could bring about flooding during heavy rainfall.

In all, six houses including two churches marked with the warnings sign “ stop work, produce permit by TMA” were seen coming up in the marshy area.

The Metropolitan Chief Executive of Tema, Mr. Isaac A. Odamtten warned all squatters in low lying areas in Communities 5 and 6 to evacuate as the areas were likely to be flooded with the increased rainfall.

He cautioned those stopped from reclaiming land from the Ramsar site to abide by the rule or face arrest and prosecution.

Mr. Odamtten noted that the TMA would team up with the Ministry of the Interior to create a “no go area” around the Ramsar site to prevent further encroachment.

“As you can see, the water holding capacity of the Sakumo lagoon has been compromised due to heavy siltation making water from the least rainfall ran down the built area,” he said.

He said the Assembly in conjunction with the Hydro Department of the Ministry of Housing and Water Resources was planning to dredge the basin and reengineer the culvert that carries water from the lagoon to the sea.

Mr. Odamtten added that plans were advanced to also dredge the Chemu Lagoon to prevent flooding in Tema Manhean.

He used the occasion to console the family of the two-and-a-half-year old girl who died in the floods at Community 1 on Thursday and urged all to take steps to protect lives during the rains.

From Godfred B. Gibbah, Tema       

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