The only natural lake in Ghana and the largest in West Africa, Lake Bosomtwe, risk being de-listed as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO following indiscriminate encroachment of the buffer zone.
A private developer has cleared all the trees planted to protect the Lake by the Manhyia Palace and some NGOs in the environment despite bye-laws banning any activity within the buffer zone.
Situated in the Ashanti region, the Lake is one of the most important tourist sites in the region and acclaimed as the ‘sea of Ashanti’.
But efforts to protect the Lake from shrinking and pollution appear to be going down the drain.
Hundreds of trees planted to along the banks of the Lake at Pipie, one of the Lake communities, have been cut down indiscriminately.
The sponging areas, where the fishes lay eggs for reproduction have also been destroyed by the developer.
“The vegetation has been taken around the immediate peripheral of the lake. It means that there is a lot of carbon that we’ve lost into the atmosphere exacerbating the issue of climate. The destruction of the sponging area for the fishes would also reduce the productive capacity of the lake”, national director of Arocha Ghana, Dr Seth Appiah-Kubi told 3news.com.
Dr Appiah-Kubi fears Lake Bosomtwe may shrink if the destroying of the trees is not stopped immediately.
“If the peripherals are removed like this, the Lake will shrink. We have Lakes that are dying around the world and we should not wait for that to happen to our only Lake”, he stressed.
Queenmother of Pipie, Nana Akuamoah Boatemaa wants the Asantehene to intervene in protecting and preserving the Lake.
“We plead with the Asantehene to come to our aid. All the trees he gave us to plant and nurture have been destroyed by a private developer. If nothing is being done to stop the private developer from further destroying the trees, the community will not involve itself in any tree planting exercise along the bank of the Lake”, she noted.
District Chief Executive of Bosomtwe, Joseph Kwesi
Assuming warned sanction would be meted out to anyone who trespasses on the buffer zone.
“Per our bye-laws, 100 meters from the bank of the Lake is a no-go area so the private developer clearly trespassed. He has currently been handed over to the police for prosecution. We need to protect the Lake and whoever flouts the laws would be made to face the law”
Residents of Pipie have vowed not to allow any private developer from further destroying the trees planted along the Lake.
Arocha Ghana, a conservation-oriented organization intends to replant trees at the degraded area to protect the Lake.