Basic Population Characteristics

The population of Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) District Assembly was 52,216 in 1960 and 64.383 in 1970 producing an inter-censual increase of 23.3%.   The growth rate during that period was 2.09%. By 1984 the population of the district was 76,462, which was 6.67% of the region’s population.  The inter-censual increase between 1970 and 1984 was 18.8%.   The national growth rate during that period was between 2.9 and 3.1% per annum. 

During the 2000 Population and Housing Census, the district population was estimated to be 112,435 (53,755 males and 58,682 females).  The ratio of males to females is 91.6: 100.  There was an inter-censual increase of 46.5% between 1984 and 2000 and a growth rate of 2.3%.   The district’s share of the total population of the Central Regional is 7.1%

Settlement Pattern

The KEEA District has 158 settlements by 2000.  Out of these, there are four major towns with respective population figures of over four thousand (4,000) people.  These are Elmina (21,103, Komenda (12,278) and Agona Abrem (4990) and Kissi (4,874).  There are five (5) other settlements with respective population figures of over 2000, which can be described as sub-urban towns.  These are Bisease (2,267) Abrobeano (2,201) Domenase (2,198) and Abrem Berase (2,152).  These five urban or semi-urban settlements constitute over 43% of the district’s population. 
Considering the situation further, the 2000 Population and Housing Census Special Report on 20 Largest Localities indicates that just twenty (20) of the towns in the district with a total population of 57,136, constitute over fifty per cent (50%) of the total population of the district. 

Four of the towns (Elmina, Komenda, Abrem Agona and Kissi) with a total population of 43,245 constitute over 38.5%. The report gives the proportion of urban population for the district as 29.7% (33,381) and rural population as 70.3% (79,056). This means that, the population of Elmina and Komenda, the only towns in the district considered as urban towns, collectively constitute about one-third of the district’s population.The situation is further worsened by the fact that more than 50% of the 158 settlements have population less than 500 persons. It therefore means that, a large portion of the population live in the four urban and semi-urban towns. 

On the other hand, the rest of the settlements (i.e. about 97%) occupied the vast stretch of the district each with population less than 2, 000.  There is spatial settlement pattern such that there is preponderance of sparse populations scattered over a wide area of the district.  Such small populations of settlements cannot meet the population threshold for the provision of social services to the communities.  Alternatively, social services could only be provided based on centrality of a number of communities to be considered.  However, latter method cannot be applied without its concomitant high cost.

Age/Sex Distribution

The age sex structure of the district is almost like that of the region and the nation at large.  It is characteristic of a youthful population with a substantial segment of its population under the age of 15 years.  By the 1984 Census, about 45% of the population was under 15 years, 4% above the 1993 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS). This indicated slight changes such as 48.25 in the 0-14 group, 3.6% for the 66 years and over group and 48.2% in the 15-64 year group.
The latter figures of 1993 are indicative of gradual acceptance of family planning methods and practices. The male/female ratio of the district is 1:1.06.  This means that for every 100 males we have 106 females. 

On the other hand, the male/female ratio for the region is1: 1.04, which is slightly lower than that of the district.The dependency ratio of the region by 1984 was 1:0.98, which shows that every active person has less than 1 dependent or 100 people, could take care of 98 persons.  The district’s is much higher (1:1).  On economic dependency, the economic dependency ratio is 100 is to 150% or 1:1.5.  This means that for every economically active person, we have 1.5 persons to take care of.  Such a high dependency ratio has various effects on the district’s economy.


Fertility rates are determining factors of population increases.  The Total Fertility Rate (TER) for Ghana (as indicated from the 1993 GDHS) ranges between 6.4 and 5.5. Such a total fertility rate is a very high figure as compared to some developed countries whose Total Fertility rates are under 2.In terms of teenage pregnancy and adolescent fertility figures, the Central Region leads the rest of the regions in Ghana.  From the 1993 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, the Central Region leads with about 33.3% of teenage girls who have started child bearing as against the national average of 22% and the lowest regional figure of 11.1% from Volta region. 

Of this number, 28.4% of them are already mothers, and about 5% of them being pregnant for the first time as compared to national average figures of 18.6 and 3% respectively  in terms of the district figures, which were readily available.K.E.E.A. District is predominantly rural with worse situation than the regional average.  Since major urban settlements of the district are fishing towns and villages along the populations, K.E.E.A District cannot be an exception to the high teenage pregnancy situation in the region. 

Rural-Urban Split

The district has Elmina as its district capital, which was the first point of contact with the early Europeans to this country.  This town has therefore witnessed western civilization and other economic activities over the centuries.
In 1948, Elmina with a population of 5,909 was the only urban town in the district.  Komenda was only a semi-urban settlement with population of 394 in 1948 and 4,262 in 1960.  By 1960 Elmina’s population rose to 34 (an inter-census increase of 44.4%). 

It was only in 1970 that Komenda’s population of 5,966 made it attain the status of a town.This was the period of the Sugar Factory’s activities at Komenda.  However by 1984, the population of Komenda had reduced to 5,287, which was mainly due to the collapse of the sugar factory resulting in the emigration of many workers to other places.

Human Settlement Patterns

The KEEA district has seen remarkable improvement in development since it was carved out of the Cape Coast Municipal assembly in 1988.  Development in this district has however been inadequate.  Elmina, the district capital, stands out as the only settlement with any meaningful level of services.  Other settlements with some modicum of a reasonable service delivery are Komenda and Agona.  


The population of a settlement does have some influence on the nature of the services in that settlement. Higher order services are often associated with settlements with large population and low order services with smaller settlements. A classification of settlements was made based on the nature of the services in the settlements (see scalogram).   In all, 30 services were identified to aid in the classification.  The measure used to arrive at the classification is the centrality index, which was obtained from a weighting of the services.  


A distinction was made between basic services (which serve external markets like exports  and therefore bring money into the towns) and non-basic or residential services which serve only local markets. Based on the weighting, the maximum score for any settlement for all the services would be 55.  This enables a grading of settlements as follows:


Elmina was the only settlement with services sufficient to be considered in Grade I.  Komenda and Agona Abrem were Grade II centres.  Eguafo was classified as Grade V settlements.  Out of the 50 settlements ranked, 72% were Grade V settlements.  A further 10% were Grade IV settlements.  This situation is indicative of the rural nature of the district.In terms of service distribution, there was a preponderance of educational institutions.  However, even here, basic schools dominate.  Educational projects constituted 39% of all services.  Of the educational services, 66% were basic schools.  


About 68% of the settlements have safe drinking water and 88% could be said to have adequate human excreta disposal systems.  It should be borne in mind that the analysis is only for the 50 settlements of reasonable population size.  The many settlements with population less than 200 people are poorly served with services and, in several cases there are no services at all.


Housing and Population Density

 According to the 2000Population and Housing Census, Elmina Town has 2,220 houses, within which 22,098 people live. The total number of households stood at 5,806 (22,451 persons, or on average 3,8 persons per household). The average of 3.8 persons per household for the town as such is not very high. This is because the census was held during the fishing seasons when you have a lot of single households (migrant fishermen). 
A household is made up of people belonging to the same family who live in the same house and keep the house together. This may be a core family of father, mother and children, but also an incomplete family, or an extended family.

The core of Elmina Town, which is also the most densely populated area, includes suburbs such as Bakaano, Essermu, Neizer’s Garden, Lime Street area, Liverpool Street area, the St. Jago Hill area and the Java Hill area. Housing density stands at about 600 houses per square kilometre. The nature of congestion of physical structures in these areas makes extension and expansion of facilities extremely difficult. The occupation density of the houses in this areas is also the highest, with on average of between 6.1 and 13.3 persons per house, divided over 1.5 to 3.9 households per house. It must be added that a fair percentage of the houses in the core area are among the largest in town.The population density decreases as we go eastward and also towards the northern section of the town.

The moderately housing density populated suburbs include Sybil, Teterkesem and Estates. The housing density in this area is quite manageable. It stands at 10 houses per acre. Areas in the north-eastern section of the town, which include the KEEA District Administration area, the African Pot area, and the Elmina Golden Beach Hotel area, are seen as the current direction of growth of the town. The housing structures in these areas could be said to be ’free from pity’. Housing density in these areas is also very low. These areas are the peripheries of the town, and there are orderly developments of housing structures. In all these areas household size remains roughly equal to that elsewhere in the town itself (circa 3.7 persons per household), but the occupancy per house is on the average less high than what exits in the heart of the town, as is the number of households per house (between 1.1 and 3.1).

The housing types in Elmina range from single-room-storey house to five-storey apartment buildings. Most of the housing units in Elmina Town are of single storey types.These single storey types are made up of compound houses, detached and semi-detached housing units. Many houses are not yet finished or in ruins.The storey buildings form about 15% of the total housing stock. Most of these storey buildings are of two storey types. The tallest building found at the core of Elmina Town is only up to three storeys, and this stands about 30 feet high. There are few five-storey blocks of apartments (the so-called SSNIT Flats) built by the Social Security and National insurance Trust (SSNIT). These blocks are located at the periphery of the town and they stand about 50 feet high. They are the tallest buildings in the town.

About 70% of the single storey houses are of compound houses and are mostly built with sandcrete materials. The most commonly used roofing materials are iron sheets which form about 50%, aluminum sheet is about 32% and asbestos about 15%. Thatch roofing is about 3%, and is usually found on mud houses, which is however very common in Ayisa and K’Burano. These places could be said to be among the poorest suburbs of the town. Some of the housing structures in these areas are made of wood, whilst others are made of coconut leaves with thatched roofing.

Although there are no definite statistics on ownership of the current housing stock in Elmina, it is known that about 92% of the total housing stock is privately owned (which is usually family ownership) whilst the government owns only 8% of the stock, basically made up of detached single storey housing units at Elmina Estates. The architectural pattern of the housing units is gradually changing from the dominant compound housing structures to detached housing units. This can be attributed to the gradual adoption of the western style of family systems where the concentration is only on the nuclear family.

Resources Needed

Due to increasing population figures there is an urgent need for houses. In the old town it is almost impossible to construct new houses due the lack of space. However the density is still increasing putting more pressure on the existing infrastructure like water, sewage, electricity, roads and drainage.

Housing environment

Poor drains, heaps of surface dumps and unkempt surroundings, characterise the housing environment in the Elmina Town especially in the core area. Only about 45% of the houses in the town have internal toilet facilities. About 40% of the population depends on public toilets, whilst others use the beaches and the Benya Lagoon as their places of convenience.Housing problems in Elmina Town cannot only be said to be qualitative but also quantitative. The room occupancy rate now stands at 4 to 5 people per room according to a sample survey conducted. This high room occupancy rate is more pronounced at the areas where the fisherfolks usually reside. These areas include Ayisa, K’Burano and parts of Bakaano. 

The average size of a room in these areas is about 10 feet by 10 feet and this is usually occupied by an average of 15 workers. These houses are usually wooden structures and have no other facilities. According to the fishermen, they use the room only to keep their belongings. This high room occupancy rate is usually typical of transient fishing crews who for most of the time form the majority of the fishermen.About 10% of the core area of Elmina Town are situated on the Benya Lagoon’s flood plain. The suburbs lying in this area include parts of Bakaano, Essermu and Neizer’s garden, and also parts of Bantuma and Mbofra Akyinmu, and a section of Ayisa. 

These areas are susceptible to acute inundation, which affects most of the houses at rainy seasons. It is a common sight, viewing houses with outer doors blocked with one to two feet wall just to prevent floodwaters from entering the houses. According to the residents, heavy floodwaters sometimes overflow these walls and enter the rooms.Also, some of the houses located at the slopes of the hills (e.g. Java Hill, St. Jago Hill and St. Joseph’s Hill) have exposed foundations and cracked walls as a result of pronounced rainwater erosion that occurs on the slopes of these hills. Generally most of the houses on these slopes have been affected by erosion.

Housing Congestion and Health

The quality and quantity of housing is a significant factor affecting health. Greater proportion of the population in Elmina Town live in sub-standard houses. Housing quality extends beyond the availability of water or sanitation facilities.Health risks associated with sub-standard housing can be attributed to overcrowding, dampness, inadequate drainage, and insufficient ventilation. All these are typical characteristics of the housing environment in the Elmina Town. Women and children, many of whom spend considerable time in the house, are especially subject to these hazards. Overcrowding is particularly common in Bakaano, Essermu, Ayisa, and K’Burano.

Overcrowding can aid the transmission of a variety of infectious diseases, particularly airborne respiratory diseases such as colds, pneumonia and tuberculosis. It is not uncommon to see most of the residents, especially the fisher folks, sleeping outside the room at nights in the open air. They may do this to avoid such diseases, but it is also a sign of overcrowding inside the houses. It also exposes them to an increased risk for malaria. Overcrowding conditions, where privacy is an unaccustomed luxury, can also be detrimental to mental health, adding stress and contributing to depression and other psychosocial disorders.
Also contributing to the psychological burden of inadequate housing for residents in Elmina Town is insecure tenure. Fear of eviction is a common worry among most low- income tenants and causes considerable stress.


Pollution Traffic

The volume of traffic in Elmina has increased over the years due to the increased number of visitors to the town. Although the use of motor vehicles is on the increase, air pollution is not yet a major problem in Elmina. However indiscriminate hooting of horns by drivers is becoming a nuisance to the people of Elmina.                         

Land Resources in Elmina

The land in Elmina is of diverse nature in which hills and hilly areas are interspersed with low-lying lagoons and flat beach areas. The Benya Lagoon, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean, influences the quality of a large part of the lagoon land, stretching from the centre of the town to areas around and beyond Bronyibima, a suburb of the town.  Along the stretch of the Benya Lagoon is a natural forest. 

Mangrove swamps protect the lagoon from drying up during the harmattan or dry season. Again the mangrove swamps prevent dangerous erosions along the lagoons when the current of the sea is great, pushing much water from the ocean. Some parts of the town, more especially Teterkesem and Esuekyir are low-lying flat areas liable to flooding from the lagoon. Iture, a suburb at the south-eastern border of Elmina with Cape Coast, has two big rivers emptying themselves into the sea. Low-lying wetlands and mangrove swamps, with adjacent areas prone to flooding surround both the Kakum and the Sweet River. 

In town there is hardly any land available for future development. Open spaces are encroached upon or polluted. Ownership of the land is private but often difficult to trace.  Buildings that collapse are therefore often not completely demolished and the areas lie idle and undeveloped (also because of lack of financial resources to re-develop the land). Outside the historic town there is however still land available for development

Increasing Pressure on Land Resources  

Since Elmina is expanding in size and population, there has been increasing pressure on land.  Lands around the lagoons, especially the Benya Lagoon, is used for salt winning. Small-scale agriculture in the area is based on the Shifting Cultivation system, which has the effect of deforestation, and subjects the land to erosion. Agriculture is moving from the town area into the surrounding hinterland more and more. This has to do with the requirements of housing. The expansion of residential building in Elmina is putting more and more pressure on the available land. In recent times, the development of hotel accommodation has added to this pressure.

The Impact on Land Resource of Each Activity Sector


Land in Elmina usually belongs to families and clans, who claim ownership by first occupation or purchase. Family ownership of land creates an artificial shortage of land for (residential) building. This is counteracted by the fact that individuals can hold land on lease. Heads of families and clans are developing land for residential purposes in and around Elmina Town. Ownership of the land is not always clear and thus hindering further future development. It is also almost impossible to construct new houses for the increasing population due to the actual lack of space. The extension and expansion of existing structures put more pressure on the available land.

Commercial activities

The encroachment of the main streets in Elmina with kiosks, extension of (historical) buildings, small-scale workshops are congesting the town even more. Most of these constructions are illegal. It is not only hindering future development of the old town but also endangering traffic (especially in High and Liverpool Street).

Land for Services

Essential services on the national and local level, like solid waste management, water pumping stations, police stations, cemeteries and the like, are acquired by government through a compensation system for the rightful owners. The legal acquisition of lands by government is relatively easy, but only if land is physically available, which is a problem in Elmina Town.

Sand and Clay Winning

The illegal sand and clay winning is contributing to the depletion of land and resulting in erosion. The erosion is not only damaging the constructions along the beach and on the hills but is also resulting in increased siltation of the drainage canals and the lagoon, which causes an increased risk for flooding.

Competing Interests

The ecology of land, forest, lagoons and rivers is gradually depleted as a result cf the competing interests in the day-to-day activities on such areas. Mangrove swamps as well as trees in the forest are being cleared for commercial and economic activities. Lagoon and forest erosion is the result. The humus in rich agricultural lands is carried away and deposited somewhere else. Rivers dry up because agricultural activities along the river banks have opened up the rivers under the scorching sun. Beaches are used by hotels, and therefore become unavailable to the local population as landing spaces for canoes, beach fishing spots and for recreation.

A growing population and a growing tourism industry demand for more space, which is hardly available in the historic part of the town. A clear overview of available land (including open spaces) and its ownership could earmark certain areas for future development. Other threats in addition to the above mentioned activities are sand winning and the construction of kiosks. These are all  hindering future development. Only if the government would be able and willing to take measures against these activities will meaningful development in these areas become a reality. 

Management arrangement

The Lands Commission, the Survey Department, the Town and Country Planning Department, the Land Valuation Board and the KEEA District Assembly are the organisations responsible for land management in Elmina. Individuals lease the land (99 years lease and 49 years for foreigners) but need to consult the above institutions for acquisition, registration and building permits. There are two systems of land registration applicable in the country: the Land Title Registration currently operating in the Greater Accra and the Ashanti Regions and the Deeds Registration applicable to the rest of the country, including the Central Region. Land acquisition procedure within the district depends on the type of land involved.

There are four (4) main types of land, namely, public or state, stool, family and private lands. Where the land is state land, the acquisition process starts with the Lands Commission, the managers of public lands. Customary lands (stool and family lands) are under the control of the occupant of the stool or the head of family (usually known as Ebusuapanyin) and they together with principal elders of the stool or family have the capacity to deal with the land. By provision of the Constitution of Ghana, stool lands cannot be granted on freehold basis, they are usually granted on 99 years leasehold terms. Family and private lands, which predominates in the KEEA District, can however be acquired on freehold basis.

The Survey Department has responsibility to map out any area of land for whatever purpose, whether private or governmental, and provides site plans in any scale, providing vital information or data needed. Maps and digital information are prepared and managed by this department. It is however difficult to find updated maps of the town, which is mostly caused by the fact that the information is kept in Accra is expensive and not easily disseminated. The ECHMP has however purchased a digital information from the Survey Department and has prepared series of maps (included in this profile). In the course of the project a more comprehensive GIS system will be prepared for the KEEA and officers will be trained on how to use the system. 

The Lands Commission is in charge of registering both government acquired and private lands to prevent encroachments and double sales by land owners, while the Land Valuation Board is in charge of assessing or giving values to lands, houses, both public and private properties for due compensations to be paid. The KEEA District Assembly is co-ordinating the activities of the organisations above.The KEEA District Statutory Planning Committee, comprising of all the institutions mentioned above and some few technical institutions, approves building permits and projects for both private and public organisations based on the Local Government Act 462. However many of the newly constructed buildings in Elmina are built without the proper legislation and are therefore unauthorised. 

Other institutions and ministries like the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Fire Service, City Engineers Department, Electricity Company of Ghana, Ghana Water Company Ltd, Hydrological Department of Ministry of Works and Housing and Environmental Protection Agency also play various roles in the approval and delivery of development permits and use of land. When there is the need for a qualified government surveyor to map out an area or a piece of land, individuals often use unqualified surveyors and planners to work for them at low fees. Consequently, planned schemes are set out haphazardly. Open spaces, market places, and proposed streets and lanes are being encroached upon, water courses and catchment areas, pipe tracks and underground cable lines are ignored. Buildings and kiosks are put up in lanes without recourse to building regulations as enshrined in the Local Government  Act 462. 

The District Assembly does not seem to have the power and capacity to deal with this issue. Land use planning, land management and development control within the Elmina area are hampered by a host of problems, which include land ownership conflicts, litigation, encroachment, multiple sale of land, unapproved and haphazard development leading to environmental problems. Lack of effective co-ordination and co-operation among the various agencies is also a contributing factor to the problem. The causes of these problems, can be attributed to inadequate, conflicting, outdated and unreliable legislation, poor documentation of land transactions and management of information on land, indeterminate boundaries of customary lands, inadequate security of land tenure, unavailability of good data on land and land rights and general indiscipline in the land market.

Environmental Situation


Natural Environment

The forest provides a variety of timber species, which are currently being exploited. The type of forest along most of the coastal belt of the district, like other parts of the country, is mangrove, which thrives well particularly in swampy areas around lagoons and other water bodies. At a kilometre stretch into the hinterland from the coast, one encounters another strip of forest.The natural forest here consists of hardwood varieties or species like Wawa, Mahogany, Odum, Kyekyen, Edinam, Otie, Danta, Onyina Koben and other species. They cover greater part of the district stretching into the hinterland from the coastal belt. A variety of wild animals are also found in the forest. These include antelopes, monkeys and rats.

Various minerals deposits abound throughout the district. Gold is to be found in the Eguafo area. Alluvial Diamonds are obtained from the beds of the Ntintre stream around Ankaase and Saaman. It provides the bulk of energy supply needs of the people of the district in the form of firewood and charcoal.The forest also protects the land from dangerous erosion and other environmental hazards. Provision of shades, oxygen and other gases and beautification for recreation are some of the demands on the resource. The natural vegetation, including primary and secondary forest, in the district is almost depleted. This has resulted from the activities of loggers, fuel wood gatherers, charcoal producers, and traditional farmers (inappropriate farming practices).

Energy Usage And The Environment

The major resources used to produce energy in Ghana generally, are water and wood. Wood is used extensively for firewood and production of charcoal. Firewood, charcoal, electricity, petrol, kerosene, and diesel are the main sources of energy in the district. Most people use firewood and charcoal for domestic cooking purposes.A negligible number of people use liquefied petroleum gas in addition to the above. These are mostly the middle-class elite in Elmina. The major source of energy, however, remains the natural vegetation. Fuel wood is used in heating and cooking. Fishmongers particularly use firewood extensively for the smoking of fish.
The above activities together with other human interferences have reduced the forest vegetation to that of secondary forest in the interior and shrubs in the coastal zone. It is to be noted that individual farmers are engaged in agro-forestry, for both food and charcoal and this would be encouraged in the plan period.Firewood, charcoal, electricity, petrol, kerosene, and diesel are the main sources of energy in the district. Most people use firewood and charcoal for domestic cooking purposes. A negligible number of people use liquefied petroleum gas in addition to the above. These are mostly the middle-class elite in Elmina. The major source of energy, however, remains the natural vegetation. Fuel wood is used in heating and cooking.

The district is connected to the national electricity grid and a sizeable number of towns and villages are supplied with electricity. However, power outage and fluctuation of voltage are common phenomena. Occasional drought in the country also affects power generation and subsequently the supply of power to the entire nation, KEEA District being no exception.Generators, powered by petrol and diesel oil are used during power outages or during periods of power rationing. Increased demand for firewood and charcoal, and the subsequent increase in wood cutting for charcoal production has a strong impact on the vegetation and the environment in general.

Power in the district is received from the power generation stations in Ghana, particularly from the Akosombo Hydro Station. The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) is the sole distributor of electric power in the district. Few individuals and organisations have standby generators, especially in Elmina, to provide them with electricity in case of power outage.Petrol and diesel oil are used to fuel motor vehicles (cars, lorries) as well as engines of fishing vessels (boats), outboard motors fitted to canoes, and motor cycles. Kerosene is used in lamps, stoves and generators, among other appliances. It is envisaged that many more towns and villages will enjoy this facility during the plan period.

Evidence Of Pollution Of The Water Bodies

Water bodies in the district are made up of rivers, streams, lagoon, the sea, dams and wells or ponds. Human activities have more or less affected the quality and quantity of these water bodies to the extent that most of them are dried or drying up. These include farming activities around water sources, clearing of vegetation for construction and other purposes thereby exposing the water body to the direct rays of the sun, and siting of industries along the banks of these water sources.Groves that were considered sacred and provided shade that protected the adjoining lands have been cleared for building purposes. The result is high temperatures in many communities.

The pressure on marine, river, lagoon and mangrove resources mainly results from unscientific and /or selfish exploitation and farming along the banks and usage of wrong agricultural chemicals which are washed into these water sources.The District has many lagoons, notably Benya, Brenu, Mpropro and Komenda. The Benya and Sweet Rivers of Elmina do not experience extensive exploitation pressure in terms of fishing. Use of cast nets and angling in these rivers are commensurate with fish stocks. Besides, the culture of the people allows for replenishment of fish stock. For example, the banning of fishing in the Benya River for six weeks preceding the first Tuesday of July, the Bakatue festival day, even though unintended, allows for breeding of fish in the river.

The exploitation pressure on the lagoons/rivers, particularly the Benya River, is in the provision of brine for salt making. Unplanned construction of saltpans in the course of the river hinders the natural flow of the river over a long stretch. Saltpans have been constructed in such a manner that only those nearest to the mouth of the river get enough brine directly from natural inflow.The construction of the saltpans also puts pressure on the mangrove swamp and forest. Mangrove trees are cut away to allow construction of pans. This affects the flora and fauna of the swamp. Fishes and other aquatic animals caught up in the saltpans where the concentration of salt solution is high are killed in their numbers.

A scientific investigation in the state of pollution of the Elmina coast in 1991 found it to be under serious environmental threat (Annan-Prah & Ameyaw-Akumfi, 1991). The research found major solid waste pollutants along the beach such as: feaces, tar balls, bottles, plastic buckets, food wrappers, ’poki’ ice-cream containers, bottle tops, plastic bags, and groundnut wrappers. The researchers also recorded values for heavy metals such as Zinc, Copper, Lead and Mercury. At low tide the average coliform counts of the sea, up to ten meters from the shore was 22.7%.

The implications of these findings suggest that the area is at least not a depository of petroleum products from ocean-going vessels. Yet, it is recognizable that the tar balls may result from bitumen used for sealing boats on the beach. Heavy metal concentrations are below the World Health Organization standards for water.However, fishing vessels use lead fuel and periodical monitoring of lead levels is recommended. Feacal pollution is the most serious environmental pressure, which needs control. Given that the salt content of this sea is likely to kill most common germs, the values obtained give room for vigilance. Drains in towns and villages open into the sea, lagoons and rivers. It is common knowledge that some irresponsible citizens empty feaces into street drains, the sea and lagoons.

In some communities, refuse dumps and public toilet facilities are situated near the sea and other sources of water. The result is that, waste materials are washed into these water bodies during heavy rains thereby polluting them. Some people raise pigs along the seashore and the edges of mangrove swamps.This leads to a flow of waste matter from the pigsties into the lagoons. Inadequate toilet facilities force the populace to use the beaches, bushes and open places as defecating grounds that where run-offs from rains eventually wash the waste materials into water bodies. These constitute the pollution threat on these waters that serve as sources of water for people downstream. The Benya Lagoon is highly polluted as a result of dumping of liquid and solid waste into it.

The District Assembly would embark on the following strategic plans to prevent further pollution of the lagoon as well as make efforts to rehabilitate it. The Assembly will liaise with the Environmental Protection Agency and the water Resources Institutes, the Fisheries Department and other line agencies to find ways of treating the already polluted lagoon (a private firm which deals in environmental management may be contracted to handle the treatment of the lagoons). The District Environment Management Committee would be made to carry out an Action Plan geared towards education of the people on the effects of using the lagoons as waste disposal points.

Date Created : 11/21/2017 3:22:59 AM