A Ramsar site is a wetlands site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar convention. It provides for national action and international cooperation regarding the conservation of wetlands, and wise sustainable use of their resources.
The countries with the most Ramsar Sites are the United Kingdom with 175 and Mexico with 142. Bolivia has the largest area with 148,000 square kilometers under the convention protection. Canada, Chad, Congo and the Russian Federation have each designated over 100,000 square kilometers as Ramsar Sites.
The government of Ghana recently declared 5 coastal wetlands to be Ramsar Sites. This requires (the wise use of wetlands of international importance) for bird habitat but does not preclude human habitation or ecologically friendly development.
These 5 Ramsa Sites are Muni-Pomadze, Densu Delta, Sakumo, Songor and Keta. All put together, Ghana’s Ramsar Sites cover a total area of 176,134 hectares.
The Sakumo Ramsar site.
The Sakumo Ramsar Site also known as the Sakumo Lagoon is a wetland of international importance. It is the only wetland wholly owned by the government and is meant for protecting Sakumono, Tema and their environs against floods and pollution, for the breeding of fish for the Sakumono Lagoon, as well as recreational activities.
It covers an area of 1,364 hectares (3,500 acres) and is situated along the coastal road between Accra and Tema in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, about 3km (1.9 mi) west of Tema.
The Ramsar site is also the relaxation and feeding grounds for over 70 waterbrain species. Besides that, it serves as breeding grounds for about three marine turtle species.Activities currently ongoing within the Ramsar Site include farming, fishing, recreation, urban and industrial development.
The Sakumo Ramsar site also covers part of Tema Community 3, 5, 6, 11 and 12, through to the Sakumono village, Old Lashibi and Klagon. The site which used to be a habitat for fishes and other water creatures as well as served as a stopover for migrating birds, currently has a large portion being encroached upon by individuals and estate developers.
The Sakumo Ramsar site which is also used by farmers to cultivate vegetables during the dry season has also been turned into a huge refuse dumping site which is gradually killing aquatic life in the wetlands.
The Sakumo Ramsar Site under discussion was visited by a team of Remote Sensing experts from the Centre for Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Services, (CERSGIS) based at the University of Ghana, Legon in June of 2019. Their mission under the auspices of the GMES Project was to find out the causes for the degradation of the site over the years and make some recommendations for possible restoration of the Ramsar Site.
CERSGIS in collaboration with the Forestry Commission was to do a site survey involving drone footage and come out with a short documentary to highlight the extent of encroachment in the area which was very much responsible for destroying the ecosystem of the Ramsar site. The team further observed that the Ramsar site had come under serious threat to the brink of extinction due to the heavy encroachment that had plagued the area for over three decades. If care was not taken and the authorities that be did nothing about it, the site could eventually hit extinction in a matter of a few more years.