‘Blockage of Canals Affects Growth of Mangroves’

Anlo — The Regulations Manager of the Wildlife Division under the Forestry Commission, Mr Vincent Dickson Agyeman,says the blockage of canals that allows the flow of sea water into lagoons was having a negative impact on the livelihood of residents living around wetland areas.

The blockage of the canals, which according to Mr Agyeman,was caused by silting materials was affecting the growth of the Mangroves as communities around the wetland areas depended on them for survival.

“Individuals in these communities harvest these mangroves which they sell as firewood to customers from neighbouring towns and villages, while others use it for building among other purposes”, he said.

Mangroves, are trees or shrubs which grows in tidal, chiefly tropical, coastal swamps, having numerous tangled roots that grow above ground and form dense thickets and comes in three different types; red, white and black mangroves.

Mr Agyeman was speaking with journalists during a media tour of the Anghor Lagoon, in the Volta Region, organised by the Media Platform on Environment and Climate Change (MPEC) with support from International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The purpose of the tour was to create awareness about the status of Ghana’s Mangrove forests.

According to the Regulations Manager, for Mangroves to grow very well it needed brackish water (water that is saltier than fresh water, but not salty than sea water); a mixture, the sea and lagoon provided, hence the need to dredge the canals for easy flow of sea water.

During the tour on the lagoon, it was observed that most of the Mangroves had been harvested by the people in communities such as Agbatsivi and Anyanui close to it while some had been destroyed by diseases.

The Site Manager for the Keta Lagoon Complex Ramsar Site of Forestry Commission of Wildlife Division, Mr Lawrence Tetteh Ocloo, explained that the low staff strength of eight personnel,required to protect a site of 530km/s made their work difficult.

Additionally, he explained that inadequate financial allocation and logistics was a major challenge and, therefore, called on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to assist in protecting the wetland.

Some indigenes in the communities and Mangrove markets such as the Agbatsivi and Anyanui Mangrove market shared varied opinions about Mangroves and how it served as a source of livelihood to them.

Mr Nelson Gedjah Glormor, an indigene of Sota, a community around the Anghor lagoon noted that the mangroves as compared to previous years could not grow very well due to the blockage of the canals that allowed the flow of sea water onto the lagoon and perennial areas where it had been planted.

Ms Elizabeth Habada, a trader in mangroves at the Anyanui Mangrove market, in the Anloga District, noted that due to the high demand for the Mangroves which served as firewood,they were forced to harvest it, especially, the red mangroves at an early stage.

Three types of mangrove species were mostly found at the wetlands visited and they include the Red, White and Black mangroves with the Red and White being dominant.

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