Main content area

Coastal zone management challenges in Ghana: issues associated with coastal sediment mining

Jonah, F. E., Adams, O., Aheto, D. W., Jonah, R. E., Mensah, E. A.
Journal of coastal conservation 2017 v.21 no.3 pp. 343-353
assets, coastal zone management, coasts, contractors, ecosystems, engineering, environmental law, infrastructure, interviews, managers, mining, questionnaires, sediments, Ghana
Coastal erosion is a serious environmental problem that has caused the loss of private infrastructure and national assets along Ghana’s coast. Several hard engineering measures have thus been used to protect some communities and vital state assets when they became threatened. Regardless of this problem, sediment mining activities are increasingly practiced along most of Ghana’s coast, further exacerbating coastal erosion intensity and degrading coastal ecosystems. This paper provides an overview of the activities of coastal sediment miners along four administrative Districts in the Central Region of Ghana and identifies how issues arising from the practice are managed at the local community level as well as by state environmental regulators. The study uses a mixed-method approach, involving individual and group interviews, administration of a set of structured questionnaire and field observations, to identify coastal sediment mining and emerging management issues. Overall, three main categories of coastal sediment mining activities were identified in the area. Results indicate that coastal sediment mining is widely practiced by both commercial contractors and community members, giving rise to the high perception among residents that it is the reason for the degradation of the coastline in the studied areas. The study also established that state environmental regulators have weak inter-agency cooperation leading to poor enforcement of environmental laws and non-prosecution of offending individuals. The paper suggests that since each identified sediment mining activity has its own peculiar issues and mode of operation, coastal managers should address each category independently in order to derive lasting impacts in curtailing the practice.