Coastal Erosion in Ghana: Causes, Patterns, Research Needs and Possible Solutions

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by A. K. Armah, Univ of Ghana, Legon, Ghana,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91:

Abstract: The pattern of coastal erosion in Ghana is described. The causes for spatial differences in the erosional rates on the shoreline are identified as coming from a combination of natural and human-induced factors. Interruption of sediment transport routes and beach sand extraction are identified as important factors contributing to inadequate replacement of sediments transported by the eastward longshore drift in addition to other factors suggested by (Ly, 1980). On the eastern coast, the geology as well as the relationship of wave energy dissipation to the configuration of the shelf have been distinguished as primary factors responsible for the observed higher erosion rate. Fluvial sediment reduction as a result of dam construction is considered a secondary factor aggravating the shoreline erosion. The use of offshore breakers is proposed for protecting the eastern shoreline due to high energy of the waves. Nourishment of beaches starved of sediments because of artificial structures is recommended. Due to the transboundary nature of the beach sediments which migrates southwards from as far north as the Mauritanian coast, a regional coordination in checking coastline erosion in West Africa is advocated.

Subject Headings: Erosion | Developing countries | Coastal environment | Littoral drift | Sediment transport | Coastal management | Beaches | Shoreline | Africa | Ghana | West Africa

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