Archive | December 2013

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 8,000 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 7 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Lack of basic safety “common sense” or a delibrate act? concerns on siting of Natural Gas Transportational pipelines in the middle of towns continue to fall on deaf ears

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Residents in six coastal communities in the Ellembelle District in the Western Region have expressed concern over the siting of the country’s gas processing plant at Atuabo, saying it poses a danger to the communities.

The communities are Annochie, Baku, Ngalekyie, Ekwei, Atuabo and Krisan.

They said the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal under construction by Quantum Terminals Limited fell outside the industrial zone of the district assembly.

The assembly has also threatened to take legal action against the company for not following the ground rules.

According to the chiefs and people of the communities, they had now been sandwiched between the Ghana Gas Company facility and that of Quantum Terminals Limited, adding that this posed a danger to their safety.

It was observed when the Daily Graphic visited the area that the closest residential facility to Quantum was less than a minute walk (less than 25 seconds drive at 40km/hr) from the Annochie township.

The project is also located close to the main road which connects the six communities.

Members of the communities told the Daily Graphic that they were not against the project in the area, except that the areas marked for the siting of the project was not in the best interest of the communities.

The Chief of Annochie, Nana Avo Blay V, said the town was growing and that he did not understand why it should be taken over by facilities that needed to be separated from human settlement.

“What we want now is that the Quantum Gas Terminals should relocate to the other side of the pipeline. Where they are siting it now is not good for my people,” he said.

Nana Blay said the people were aware of the dangers associated with gas explosions, and wondered why the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should allow the project to go on.

He said the EPA should have known that siting the project next to the community and using the only road to haul the product would be dangerous.

“As it is now, realising danger, we don’t want the Quantum project near us. They should go beyond the pipeline, and after that construct their own road to link the main road to ensure the safety of the people,” he said.

“Aside Quantum, Ghana Gas has also informed us of siting a loading gantry also very close to the community, but we will resist it. They should go beyond the gas pipeline,” he said.

Nana Blay said it was wrong for them to allow the companies, including the Ghana Gas, to flood the communities with dangerous gas infrastructure without considering the dangers associated with LPG.

“As we speak, if they finish the gas terminals, they would lay a pipe from Ghana Gas to the facility, which will pass through the community, and they want to tell us we are safe?” the Tuffuhene of the community, Mr Robert Awoni-Mensah asked.

The Assembly Member for the area, Mr Daniel K. Boma, said there were several concerns about the location of the facility, describing such concerns as genuine.

He said consultation among the communities was poor.

When contacted, the District Chief Executive for Ellembelle, Daniel K. Eshun, acknowledged the concerns of the people, saying that the industrial enclave for the area was between Atuabo and Annochie.

He said he was surprised the company had moved to an area that formed part of residential facilities to construct the terminals without contacting the assembly.

“We have to go there and call them to order. They met the chiefs and failed to come to the assembly, hauling sand and constructing equipment to the site without permit, and I have not even seen their environmental impact assessment document,” he said.

Meanwhile, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Gas Company, Dr George Sipa-Adjah Yankey, Quantum Terminals was a private initiative which was not part of the Ghana Gas Project.

He said it was not surprising that people were expressing their displeasure at the location because of its closeness to the community and other issues such as the taking over of people’s lands.

“But the question to ask is who sold the land to the company, and why must it be sited next to the community,” he asked.

Dr Sipa-Yankey said the focus of the Ghana Gas Project was different from that of Quantum Terminals, adding that the chiefs and people of the communities who owned the land were at liberty to express concern over the project.

He said the location of Ghana Gas was thoroughly researched, discussed and the due processes followed; therefore, the operations of Quantum should not be linked to that of Ghana Gas.

He denied allegations that Ghana Gas was working together with Quantum.

He noted that the safety of the host communities was of great interest and that Ghana Gas was within the acceptable limit from the next community – Annochie.

Efforts to reach the Quantum Terminals Limited for their reaction did not yield any result.
-http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/artikel.php?ID=295060

Shama District, Rice Farmers decry decision to lock up only milling machine by the district agric officer

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The only rice milling machine provided by the government to rice farmers of the Shama District in the western region to enhance local rice production in the country has been locked up by the district agric officer for about two months now without any reason for his personally decisive action.

This situation has compelled rice farmers in the Shama District to resort to very obsolete means of processing their rice which is not able to separate unwanted chaffs such as stones and other foreign materials.

The situation has brought about multiple hardships to these hardworking farmers of the district making it difficult for marketing of their produce due to customer’s preference to other rice from different region due to the nonexistence of unwanted particles in their rice produce.

About three thousand tons of rice was transported to Kumasi just last year in its paddy to be milled, causing the local farmers to loose thousands of Ghana Cedis in income.

In November, 2013, these vulnerable farmers lead by the assembly member of the Anto-Aboso Electoral Area, Mr. Famous Hotorwovi, made this known to the District Chief executive and other relevant authorities in the district.

However, the situation remains same and local rice farmers are still crying out loud for an intervention.  The rice mill had been in operation in the area for the past one-and-half years and its closure months ago has created multiple economic hardship for these rice farmers because other farmers are unable to mill their rice using obsolete means to end up not being bought on the market.

If the situation is not resolved within the shortest possible time, farmers are still very likely to transport their rice again to Kumasi and many of these farmers could return to their jobless state before the intervention of gov`t in introducing them to the venture of rice farming.

-mdnuhu

 

Funeral Held for 21st Whale Washed Ashore in Western Region

Pouring of Libation to the gods

On Wednesday, November 21, 2013, the people of Domunli, a coastal community in the Nzema East Municipality in the Western Region, held a funeral for a 10.4 meter long dead sperm whale that washed ashore at the beach.

This was the 21st dead whale washed ashore on the coast of Ghana since 2009.The socio-environmental NGO, Friends of the Nation (FoN), mobilized the community to hold a traditional ritual for the dead whale. Community members gathered in traditional funeral dresses – red and black attire with a red band. Amidst traditional drumming and dancing, they sang funeral songs to bid farewell to the whale, calling it “god” and “ancestor”.

The Chief Fishermen and elders from nearby communities Axim and Egyan got together to pour libation and say prayers to the gods to help them unravel the mystery of the rampant washing ashore of dead whales. During the ceremony, officials of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) arrived and took samples of the carcass that was already decomposing and bleeding out into the sea.

The team was led by Joseph Sefa-Debrah of the Fisheries and Aquatic Science Department of University of Cape Coast. His preliminary comments were that the whale could have been hit by a vessel because the vertebrates were broken and it might have died from internal bleeding.Community members complained to the EPA that the rampant washing ashore of dead whales was rather bad omen for the fisher folks and coastal communities and that they needed answers from them as to what was the cause.

Mr. Anthony Hamilton, a community elder and a Unit Committee member, told the EPA officials that the whale washed ashore on the evening of Thursday, November 14, 2013.

He said he reported the incident to the regulatory agencies but no response had come from neither the Assembly nor the EPA.

Mr. Hamilton said the carcass was not removed six days after the whale washed ashore..

Also Eric Ndah, a community member, explained that the community was confused on how to dispose of the carcass and they had been waiting for responses from the authorities.

The funeral ceremony ended without an actual burial of the whale as the earth moving equipment to dig and move the whale was not available and the EPA had left the scene with their samples.

Meanwhile, Save Our Whales and Marine Mammals Coalition, a civil society group with interest in Natural Resource and Environmental Governance (NREG), has petitioned President over the continues death of whales in the Western Region.

The petition states that the “unprecedented beaching of 20 decaying whales with as many as 19 in the Western Region alone since oil exploration and production commenced in 2009 is a worrying and requires immediate investigations”

The petition also condemned the lack of a marine protected zone in Ghana as required by the Fisheries Act 625.

“We thus make a humble demand that the necessary scientific studies are conducted with the legislation passed to safeguard the resources from being destroyed”, the coalition demanded.

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