Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has said that the Ministry in collaboration with public and private stakeholders will join hands in solving the Sakumono Ramsar site’s encroachment.
He said the Ministry will liaise with traditional rulers to ensure the safeguarding of the lands for its intended purpose, for which government signed the international treaty of the Ramsar Convention.
Mr Amewu said this on Tuesday when he visited the Sakumono Ramsar Site located in the Tema Metropolis of the Greater Accra Region with some personnel from the Forestry Commission, and later paid a courtesy call on the Nungua Paramount Chief at his Palace.
The Sakumono Ramsar site, with a total area of 1,365 hectares, has been encroached on despite the joint effort of the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission and the Tema Development Cooperation to control the rate at which the site has been invaded.
The site, which used to be a habitat for fishes and other water creatures, and also served as a stopover for migrating birds, has one-third, equivalent to 282.78 hectares of its total area invaded with illegal activities such as sand winning, dumping of solid wastes and removal of boundary pillars and trees.
Mr Amewu said the development posed serious threat to livelihoods and sustainability of the wetland and its species.
He said the Sakumono Ramsar site was getting out of hand, and that, all these problems boiled down to the inability of politicians and public and civil servants to act.
He said government will engage in a stakeholder meeting to discuss the issue to salvage the situation.
“If these solutions are provided and the authorities fail to implement them, then government would have to take drastic measures to curb the situation.
He said the development of the country is not the sole responsibility of the government but a collaborative effort of everybody.
King Noble Odaifio Welentse III, the Paramount Chief of Nungua said it appeared the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission lacked the capacity to protect the site, thereby allowing unscrupulous people to encroach on it with impunity.
He therefore appealed to government to demonstrate its commitment to the Ramsar agreement by removing all illegal structures at the site and restore its original natural value or come back to the stool to discuss a change of usage of the site.
Ramsar sites in Tema include areas around the Sakumono Lagoon Stretching from Communities Three, Five, Six, Ten, Eleven, Twelve, Sakumono Estate, parts of Klagon Community 18 and Lashibi.