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10.07.2008 General News

Kpeshie Lagoon In Danger - Encroachers Sramble For Land

By Daily Graphic
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Large portions of the Kpeshie Lagoon and its mangrove at La an Accra suburb are being reclaimed and sold to individuals for residential and business development purposes.

As a result, the lagoon and its mangrove are disappearing fast. Extensive portions of the lagoon have been filled with sand, construction debris and garbage ready to be sold to prospective buyers.

The garbage, which is dumped near the lagoon, and some unhygienic activities by some squatters have polluted the lagoon so much so that it is unable to produce tilapia, a type of fish which has become a delicacy for most Ghanaians.

Dumping of the waste is said to be done on a daily basis as big trucks line up the road leading to the lagoon to offload their waste materials.

 

Sources believe the the La Stool had a hand in the reclamation and sale of the land.

A letter written to the Town and Country Planning Department and copied to the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) by the La Traditional Council, dated May 22, 2008 states: “ Attached please, find a site plan in respect of a piece of land leased by the La Stool to Mr. Papaa Quartey, for purposes of automobile engineering”.

“Mr. Quartey has indicated his preparedness to start the development of the said land whilst documentation is in progress. The stool, as well as this council have no objection to his request. We shall, therefore, be grateful if you will grant him the necessary permit”.

Sources say the piece of land on which the automobile shop is to be located is part of the reclaimed land.

A source at the La sub-metro said to protect the land from encroachment, its personnel planted trees and took other measures to fence the frontiers of the lagoon last year but the trees were destroyed by unrelenting individuals who were bent on degrading the lagoon.

Some individuals have been dumping construction waste in it while others have turned the lagoon into a refuse dump.

“In fact, the whole situation is appalling and we do not seem to get the necessary support to stop the practice”, the source complained.

When Mr Quartey started developing the place, the sub-metro demolished the fence he constructed because it was in the reclaimed lagoon, the source said.

The activities of these individuals, if not checked, could have serious environmental implications for residents in the area since some houses in low-lying areas have already started experiencing severe flooding during the rainy season, the source added.

Last year, the Daily Graphic reported that the lagoon was being degraded rapidly and some portions and its mangrove were being reclaimed by some encroachers for residential and business development purposes.

The practice started in late 2005 with the rehabilitation of the Ohene Djan Sports Stadium in Accra. In the course of executing the project, contractors found it convenient to dump debris from the site there.

The sources claim that debris from the presidential palace, which is under construction, is also being dumped in the lagoon.

The La sub-metro, which has jurisdiction over the area, says it is handicapped in dealing with the problem and has reiterated its earlier call on the Water Resources Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to step in to save the lagoon as most of the reclamation activities take place in the night.

Story by Naa Lamiley Bentil

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