The Butuah Wetland is part of the three urban Wetlands in Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis; the other two namely, Whin and Essei wetlands.
The Butuah Wetland is a sensitive ecological area that provides important services to the metropolis such as a flood control basin, where it receives upstream rainfall within the Kansawura Basin, carbon sink and contributes to climate change resilience.
The Wetland, which forms part of the Kansawura Basin, has several fauna and flora species including fishes, crabs as well as mangroves and other plants.
The Wetland also contributes significantly to the socio-economic and environmental livelihood of communities dotted along this habitat.
Sadly, the Wetland which together with the Monkey Hill Forest area was declared an Eco-tourism zone by the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) in 2003, is being degraded through over-exploitation of its mangrove resources, reclamation, dumping of solid and liquid waste, and massive encroachment from private developers and industries.
Pollution in Butuah Lagoon.
The whole Wetland area has a land size (Including the monkey hill forest reserve) of about 169 acres. Out of that, about 6.12 have been used for private developments like settlements.
About 10.2 acres of the portion of the land are being used for industrial purposes.
Spatial Structure of Butuah Wetland 2010
In 2018, a proposal was made to the Assembly by a private firm for a Permit to construct a tank farm within the wetlands as part of the Takoradi Port Expansion program.
Thoughtfully the project has not been visited again, yet.
Recent haphazard development in and around the Wetland poses a great threat to its survival, especially its ecological functions, and biodiversity.
The STMA Medium Term Development Plan (2022-2025), prepared in 2021 and signed off by its Chief Executive Hon. Abdul Mumun Issah, mentioned:
Hon. Mumun - STMA Boss
“The Metropolis can boast of some tourist sites and the potential to develop these sites into major tourist destinations in Ghana. The sites/areas include; heritage: - Fort Orange-Sekondi, Old High Court Building-Sekondi, etc., and a rich festival such as the Kundum/Masquerading Festival.
Water Bodies/Beaches: - Whin River Estuary, Essei Lagoon/Wetlands, and also beach sports: Boating, cruising along the coast. Additionally, conservation and Ecology: - Monkey Hill, ecotourism Site Takoradi, Bird viewing/Monkey Walk-bay Bota.”
It is instructive to note that STMA did not name Butuah Wetlands in their Plan let alone spell out what could be done to revitalize the area.
STMA and Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) are the institutions responsible for the environmental monitoring of the Wetland areas.
STMA is looking up to Ghana Tourism Authority to lead efforts to promote Eco-tourism in the Metropolis especially, the Monkey Hill Forest Reserve and the Butuah Wetland while the Western Regional Coordinating Council has a supposed blueprint to develop tourism in Western Region
There is therefore a need to develop a master plan for the whole Wetland area to aid in the monitoring and management of the Wetland and to help in decision-making on which types of infrastructure best fit within the wetland area.
This is a developing story.