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29.03.2006 Regional News

Tema embark on walk to create awareness on dead Chemu Lagoon

By GNA

Tema Manhean, March 29, GNA - Natives of Tema, including representatives of the chiefs and members of the Corporate Social Responsibility Movement (CSRM), a Tema based non-governmental organisation, on Tuesday embarked on a six-hour walk to create public awareness about the death of the Chemu Lagoon.

It is perceived that the industries have contributed largely to the death of the lagoon through the discharge of effluent into it. The protestors, chanting traditional songs bore placards with the inscriptions like "our farmlands now host industries", "Chemu Lagoon, our blood, we need it alive", "our culture is going with industrialization", "we share the risk, let us share the profit". The walkers, organized by the Tema Traditional Council (TTC) and the CSRM, converged at the banks of the lagoon at Tema Manhean at 0730 hours and marched around such factories such as the Pioneer Food Cannery, Volta Aluminium Company, Unilever Ghana Limited, Tema Oil Refinery, PZ, Nestle Ghana Limited.

The rest were Cocoa Processing Company, GHACEM, Ferro Fabbrik Company and the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority where each factory was presented with a petition.

They ended up at the Tema Municipal Assembly where the leader, Mr Richster Nii Amarh Amarfio, Executive Secretary of the CSRM, presented copies of petitions to the Coordinating Director of the TMA, Mr George Scott for the President and the Speaker of Parliament. Mr Scott said issues concerning the environment must be taken seriously.

He expressed the assembly's preparedness to support their efforts to ensure that that companies alleged to have contributed to the death of the lagoon play responsible role for its resuscitation. Speaking to the GNA later the Chief of Tema, Nii Adjei Kraku, said the Chemu Lagoon used to be a source of livelihood for the natives but they have since 1960's been deprived of this economic venture on the onset of industrialization in Tema.

Nii Kraku said they would continue to sit down with the management of the industries in Tema to dialogue to see the need to contribute satisfactorily towards the resuscitation of the lagoon Mr Amarfio said the Acres International of Canada was consulted in 1996 to conduct feasibility studies into the lagoon and submitted a report two years later to the Environmental Protection Agency and the TMA but nothing came out of it.

The petition to the industries signed by Nii Kraku and Mr Amarfio read in part that the chiefs, elders and the people of Tema have over the years co-existed peacefully with all industrial interests and supported its smooth and peaceful operations. It said "it is however sad to note that in spite of all these sacrifices, the same cannot be said of treatment from the industrial sector".

The petition said "it is no gainsaying that corporations have contributed significantly to the fallen standards of the living of the people of Tema and very little effort is being made in these directions".

"Currently, the Chemu Lagoon is declared dead, basically because of industrial pollution and very little commitment is seen from the side of industry in ensuring its revival", it stated. The petition to the President and the Speaker of parliament called on them to redouble their efforts to issue a white paper on the Acres report and get the relevant agencies and bodies to act on it. It saw the resuscitation of both the Korle and Keta lagoons as discriminatory against that of Chemu. 29 March 06

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