Water is essential for all life on Earth.
Freshwater is used for drinking, sanitation, agriculture, transportation, electricity generation, and recreation.
Freshwater habitats, like lakes, rivers, streams, and wetlands, house more than 10% of all known animal species and about 50% of all known fish species, despite covering less than 1% of the earth's surface.
Butuah wetlands, one of these freshwater habitats, is often undervalued.
It is the Metropolis’s natural waste-water treatment facility and carbon-storing champion.
Butuah Wetland was supposed to be crucial for food security, supporting the cultivation of rice, a staple in the diet of about 80% of Ghana’s population.
It also provides flood control, clean water, shoreline and storm protection, materials, medicines, and vital habitat.
As much as 87% of the world's wetlands have been lost over the past 300 years, with much of this loss happening after 1900, despite their value to the human population.
One of the institutions working to conserve and protect these valuable habitats in the Western Region is Friends of the Nation.
Butuah should have had a wide variety of species living in its wetlands. Birds, including ducks, geese, kingfishers, and sandpipers, should be using our wetlands as pit stops during long migrations, providing them with protection and food.
Importance of Wetland
Mammals like otters, beavers, and even tigers should be relying on Butuah wetlands to find food and shelter.
And, of course, it should have been home to many types of fish.
Needless to say, its tourism potential.
Wetlands trap pollutants such as phosphorus and heavy metals in their soils, transform nitrogen into a form that's easier for plants to take in, and physically and chemically break down bacteria.
New York City found that it could save $3 billion to $8 billion in new wastewater treatment plants by purchasing and preserving $1.5 billion in land around its upstate reservoirs.
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) and Effia-Kwesimintsim Municipal Assembly (EKMA) need not purchase the three urban wetlands, namely Butuah, Whin, and Essei.
How do Butuah Wetlands fight climate change?
Although it covers a small portion of the Sekondi Takoradi, its carbon-capturing abilities pack a big punch. It can store 50 times more carbon than the Kakum rainforest, helping to keep the heat-trapping gas that contributes to climate change out of the atmosphere.
This keeps the temperature of the Metropolis moderate.
Butuah Wetlands pull leaves, animal waste, and other high-carbon matter down from the surface of the water. This natural debris is buried by the water and sediment in the wetlands, locking them away.
Another advantage is that wetlands grow quickly and remain stable, meaning they have long lifespans of sucking carbon from the atmosphere
What happens when Butuah Wetlands disappear?
Without it, Ghana Water Company has to spend more money to treat water, floods are more devastating to nearby communities, storm surges from heavy rain can penetrate farther inland, animals are displaced or die out, and food supplies are disrupted, along with livelihoods.
There should be joint planning between STMA and EKMA to ensure strengthened coordination with respect to the impact of Butuah Wetland on their jurisdictions with a view to minimizing disaster and developing its tourism potential.
This is another source of internally generated funds, granted that it might not generate funds to fit in the 2022-2026 Medium Term Development Plan.
Please don’t pull down buildings only for roads, pull down buildings for Butuah!