Posted: Tuesday 29th April 2014 at 13:42 pm

EPA directs district assemblies to clean up sea weed

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The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has asked district assemblies in whose jurisdictions there is an influx of sea weed to regularly clean up the beaches.

It said cleaning up the beaches would prevent decomposition of the weed on the beaches to increase discomfort to the communities. 

A statement issued by the EPA said its monitoring of the brown algae, known as Sargassum sp., had shown that the weed “started its spread from the west (Newton/Half Assini) towards the east and is fouling all the beaches as far as Aflao and beyond”.   Impact

It said the influx of the sea weed along Ghana’s coastline was affecting the livelihood of fishermen and also impacting negatively on communities and recreation along some beaches.

The agency also appealed to those with knowledge in composting to make use of the weed as compost for agricultural purposes and called on the affected communities to manage their waste wisely. 

  Origin of weeds
 “The weed is reported to be collected on beaches in the Caribbean in small quantities every year between May and September when regional currents and winds transport the floating algae to the islands and perhaps to the West Coast of Africa from the Sargasso Sea in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean,” it said.

It quoted a marine expert at the EPA, Mr Carl Fiati, as saying that “a set of natural and man-made factors, such as indiscriminate and improper domestic waste disposal in our water bodies, probably came together to trigger this”.

The statement quoted the Executive Director of the EPA, Mr Daniel S. Amlalo, as saying that the influx of the weed in Ghana did not appear to reflect local growth of the weed, adding that the EPA’s inquiry with its counterparts in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire had confirmed the influx of the weed in their waters as well. 

  Dealing with sea weed
While giving an assurance that the seaweed would dry up rapidly in a few weeks if its spread was not continuous, it said the EPA had taken the influx of the weed seriously and initiated scientific investigations into the occurrence. 

It said the weed might be harvested and used as fertiliser, as it had been proved by its use in Bermuda and China to be an effective source of nutrient for the soil. 

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