Activities of illegal sand miners at the coastline of Cape Coast in the Central Region have exposed tourist facilities and other national edifices to the ravages of the sea, and required urgent sea defence wall to save them from further destruction.
Some facilities that have been closed down due to the heavy tidal waves included Philip Quarcoo Boys School for the past one year and the Old Cape Coast High Court for almost 20 years, while the District Hospital, Bakano Police Station, Castle Beach Resort and Cape Coast Castle along the coastline are under serious threat.
The sand that served as a defence mechanism against the heavy tidal waves has been removed over the years, and thus, exposing the entire Community and other state institutions to the vagaries of the sea.
Mr Benjamin Agbenyeku, the Assembly Member for the Anokyin Fawohodzie Electoral Area in the Cape Coast Metropolis, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Saturday, appealed to the Government to expedite action for the construction of a sea defence wall of about seven kilometres, stretching from the Cape Coast Castle to Etrea area to savage the situation.
He said sand-winning had been going on for the past 30 years and that sand-winners often carried out their nefarious activities at dawn, adding that stones that were laid along the coastline some time ago as temporarily defence have been stolen.
The Assembly Member said although there were bye-laws prohibiting sand mining and his outfit had made frantic efforts to stop the menace, it was to no avail.
Mr Agbenyeku said: “The heavy tidal waves have destroyed the coconut trees along the beach and the sea that lies far away from the community in some time past is now very close to us, and at the peak period, the waves come to the street”.
According to him, the sand-winners used the sand for laying of cement blocks, which were well patronised by real estate developers and residents in the area, noting that, anytime the perpetrators were arrested by the Police, some influential people in the community pleaded on their behalf for their release.
The Assembly Member appealed to the Cape Coast Metropolitan Assembly to deploy a taskforce to the area, who would constantly monitor the shoreline to halt the practice, while those who would be arrested should be severely punished to serve as a deterrent to others.
Mr Agbenyeku also expressed concerns about open defecation along the beach and asked the Community Police Unit to intensify patrol along the shoreline in order to apprehend the perpetrators in view of the huge tourism potential of the area.
Mr Peter Mensah, a Unit Committee Member in the Electoral Area, who corroborated the assertions made by the Assembly Member, alleged that some police personnel after effecting arrest took bribes from the sand-winners and left them to go scot free.
He appealed to the traditional authorities in the area to support the Assembly to curb the menace, noting that the chiefs wielded a lot of respect and influence in the community and their collaboration would make a difference.
Commenting on the open defecation, he appealed to the government to construct new and modern toilet facilities along the beach.
He also asked the Assembly to sub-let the areas along the beach to private investors to be used for entertainment spots and shops so as to prevent the menace of sand-winning and open defecation.
Ato Baidoo, a resident of Bakano in Cape Coast, told the GNA that, the sand-winning activities continued to occur due to lack of jobs for the youth and asked government to provide employable opportunities for them.