Assessing the Ecology of Wetlands in Kumasi and the Adaptations of the Communities to Floods.

Wednesday 1 july 2015

12:45 - 12:48h at Asia (level 0)

Themes: (T) Hydro-environment, (ST) Impacts of pollutants on the water environment, Poster pitches

Parallel session: Poster pitches: 9G. Environment - Impact

Wetland ecosystems constitute about ten percent of Ghana's total land surface and serves as an ecologically valuable resource to the nation. Anthropogenic activities such as over-exploitation, drainage, agriculture, pollution and other conflicting land-use practices contribute to the degradation of many wetlands in Ghana. This study investigated the physicochemical characteristics (e.g. pH, dissolved oxygen, total dissolved solids) and heavy metal (e.g. Lead, Arsenic, Mercury) content of six major wetlands in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana, as well as community and institutional involvement regarding wetland protection in the country. The methodology involved the use of the atomic absorption spectrophotometer for heavy metal determination and questionnaire administration and interviews with a cross-section of people living along the selected wetland communities and other stakeholders. The results obtained showed some level of pollution in almost all the studied wetlands. Dissolved oxygen was above the kill level for aquatic life in three out of the six sites. Conductivity, which reflects the mineral/ionic status of water, was above 1000 μS/cm in two of the sites as against the WHO's recommendations of 400 μS/cm. Phosphate concentrations were also above the WHO acceptable limits in all the sites and ranged between 0.233-1.6 mg/g. The pH values in all the wetlands were however normal (6.5-9.0). The study revealed that although strong policies exist in Ghana's statutory books for the protection of wetlands, implementation has been hampered by the lack of political will, corruption, poverty level and change in governmental and cultural values. As such communities along wetlands do not put in major efforts to protect such a vital resource.

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