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23.02.2006 Regional News

Elders of Tema call for restoration of Chemu Lagoon

By GNA

Tema Manhean, Feb. 23, GNA - Elders of Tema Traditional Council on Thursday called for the immediate restoration of the Chemu Lagoon to serve its useful economic needs for the indigenes.

They said the lagoon had been their major source of livelihood before their lands were acquired through a Legislative Instrument in 1951 for industrialization and development of the Tema Harbour.

However, industrial activities and municipal waste discharged into the lagoon gradually started "killing" the aquatic life and now the lagoon is almost dried up with filth engulfed at its banks and spilling around. They expressed their concern at a joint press conference organized by the council and Corporate Social Responsibility Movement (CSRM), a Tema based NGO on the environment in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung as sponsors.

Nii Shiipi, Head of Administration of the council regretted that efforts for assistance from the Government and industrialists to address the situation to improve the living standards of the people had not been fruitful leaving them in abject poverty. He said instead of industrialization bringing life to the lagoon and the people it had rather impacted negatively on them in all spheres of life and their health.

Nii Shiipi therefore, called on the Government to act swiftly to reactivate economic activities in the area. He called for the immediate demolition of unauthorized structures along the banks of the lagoon which were serving as dwelling places for squatters Nii Shiipi stressed the need for managements of industries to contribute to the restoration of the lagoon since their claim that they normally treat their effluent before discharging them into the lagoon was not convincing.

Enumerating how the lagoon supported them in the past, he said in addition to serving as a military boundary for defence against external aggression, tourist attraction, as well as a relaxation centre the people also used it for fishing and had high yields. Nii Shiipi noted that the situation became aggravated with the population growth in the city and this prompted the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a Consultant to conduct feasibility studies into its restoration in 1998.

He said the Acres report proposed three options including dredging of the lagoon, creation of water berth and restoration that would cost about 3.4 million dollars but this was not implemented. Nii Shiipi said to prevent the area from being turned into slums the council pledged their support to the Tema Municipal Assembly (TMA) on stringent measures to improve conditions in the area. He appealed to the assembly to establish a desk to collate information from stakeholders to help advance restoration of the lagoon. Nii Shiipi called on managements of industries and companies to assist the council with the payment of royalties. 23 Feb. 06

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