Tema Manhean, March 08, GNA - Geography students of the University of Hamburg, Germany have pledged to market Chemu Lagoon as their contribution towards its restoration.
Dr Eckehard Burchards, a Lecturer of the Institute of Geography at the University who made the pledge said the students were currently on a two-week study tour of the ecology, culture and custom of the country. He said on their return the students would inform people about the state of the lagoon on the Internet and was optimistic they would respond positively to restore it.
Presently, the lagoon has dried up due to dumping of domestic waste and effluent from industries while unauthorized structures have sprung up along its banks worsening the situation. Dr Burchards who is leading 16 students of the Institute made the pledge when they paid a courtesy call on Nii Adjei Kraku II, Chief of Tema and his elders at the Tema Manhean palace after inspecting the lagoon on Tuesday.
They were accompanied by Mr Rishster Amarfio, Executive Secretary of Corporate Social Responsibility Movement (CSRM), a Tema-based Non-Governmental Organization on the environment.
Dr Burchards pointed out that the prevailing peace, stability and hospitality of Ghanaians convinced them to visit the country to study her culture and environment.
He said the group would visit Manhyia palace in Kumasi, Cape Coast Castle, mining areas at Tarkwa, Obuasi and Akosombo. Briefing the group on the lagoon, Nii Larbi Ashietey, Gyaasetse, said it used to be a source of livelihood for the indigenes of Tema through fishing, tourism and a place for pleasure. However, he said with the onset of industrialization in 1959 their economic woes begun as the industries discharged their effluent into it while increase in population growth through urban drift also worsened the situation with domestic waste.
The Gyaasetse said efforts to restore the lagoon had not been successful and called on stakeholders to double their efforts to help bring joy to the people through creation of jobs. Mr Amarfio called on the Government to expedite action on the Acres Report conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a Consultant.
He said the report recommended the dredging and expansion of the lagoon, construction of a central treatment plant to treat all waste before entering the lagoon.
According to Mr Amarfio the lagoon restoration would cost millions of cedis but the Tema Traditional Council could not bear and called on the Government for assistance.