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12.03.2007 General News

Weija Lake Afforestation Under Threat

By Times

The Weija Lake Afforestation project off the Kasoa road is under threat by encroachment by land developers, felling of trees and fishing.

Thirty six out of the 214 hectares afforestation project area have been encroached upon and willfully destroyed by developers, Simon Ashton, Finance Director for West and Central Africa of the British American Tobacco, disclosed at the handing over of the project to the Water Resources Commission in Accra.

The project was undertaken by the British American Tobacco (BAT) Ghana in December 1999 to protect the resources of the lake from siltation and pollution as a means of protecting and enhancing the biodiversity of the lake shoreline.

Mr Ashton consequently appealed to the government to acquire 300 metres of the shorelines of the lake and declare it as a protected area

He explained that such a move would prevent encroachment and pollution of the lake which serves as a source of drinking water for residents in Accra.

He said that it is important to ensure that the 1.8 billion cedis investment made in the project so far is not wasted, 'thus exposing the vital resource to human and environmental assault from which it may not recover'.

Mr Ashton said BAT is committing 350 million cedis for the second phase of the project which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

He commended all stakeholders who were involved in the project.

The Acting Chairman of WRC, Ben Ampomah said the Commission is aware of the encroachment along the shoreline which he said is affecting the quality and volume of the lake.

He noted that the Commission would soon come out with a buffer zone policy on the creation of buffer on the shores of water bodies in the country.

He said the Commission would soon undertake a stakeholder consultation for their input to be included in the policy.

He said that WRC has developed collaboration with relevant institutions, which have critical role to play in the achievement of the Commission's mandate.