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12.02.2010 General News

Climate change threatens three water bodies

By Daily Graphic
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Three of the country's major water bodies, namely, the River Pra, the River Tano and Lake Bosumtwi, are reported to be drying up at a frightening rate due to changes in climatic conditions and human activities.

According to a study released in Accra, the Keta area and others in the eastern part of the country are also experiencing an annual coastal erosion at the rate of three metres per year due to climatic change patterns.

It said the pattern was likely to unleash further consequences on Ghana, such as food insecurity and a rise in the sea level, which could destroy coastal communities and infrastructure such as the Tema and the Takoradi harbours in the next few decades.

Climate projections made on the basis of historical climate data from the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMA) over a 40-year period (1960 - 2000) indicate that temperatures will continue to rise on the average of about 0.6, 2.0 and 3.9 degrees Celsius by 2020, 2050 and 2080, respectively, in all-agro-ecological zones of the country.

It is also predicted that rainfall will decrease on the average by 29 per cent, 10 per cent and 18 per cent by 2020, 2050 and 2080, respectively.

Furthermore, it is predicted, using 1990 as the mean, that there will be an average rise in the sea level of 5.8 centimetres, 16.5 centimetres and 34.5 centimetres by 2020, 2050 and 2080, respectively.

These were made known by the Chairman of the National Climate Change Committee (NCCC), Mr E. O. Nsenkyire, at a roundtable discussion on climate change organised in Accra on Wednesday by Clean Climate Heritage, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with Joy FM.

It was on the topic, "Providing solutions for climate change - After Copenhagen, what next for Ghana?" and was the first of four roundtable discussion on various aspects of climate cha scheduled by the organisets in the course of the year.

The maiden forum was premised on the objectives of identifying what Ghana ought to do as a country in respect of providing solutions for climate change, agreeing on the issues of focus and impact and profiling them appropriately and generating and, where necessary, commissioning research-based solutions that can be fed into policy.

Mr Nsenkyire, who is a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, said the projected climate change would also impact negatively on health because there would be increased cases of malaria, cerebrospinal meningitis (CSM) and water-borne diseases.

He said there would, therefore, be the need for more medical facilities to cope with the expected increase in the number of patients.

The Deputy Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, Dr Edward Omane Boamah, said climate change would create a lot of environmental refugees, whereby people would migrate from the north southwards to avoid the harsh Sahelian conditions.

He stressed the need to reduce issues of climate change to the understanding of ordinary people to enable those who could not appreciate the technicalities of the subject to get on board.

The Head of the Energy Resources and Climate Change Unit at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr William Agyeman Bonsu, said Ghana needed to get its act together and put in place appropriate legal systems and develop' projects and programmes that would allow it to draw from the Green Climate Fund.

The Chief Executive Officer of CCH, Mr Akunu Dake, said the aim of the roundtable discussion was to create awareness of the Copenhagen Accord and address other issues pertaining to climate change.






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