Private developers have encroached on the buffer zone created around the 110-kilometre multi-million dollar gas pipeline from the Atuabo Gas Processing site in the Ellembelle District to the Aboadze Thermal Plant in the Shama District in the Western Region.
Presently, some communities in the host districts are also engaged in sand winning in the restricted area, a development that has the potential to expose the pipelines, even before the first gas is delivered to the thermal plant.
The practice is endemic in the Shama District, where landowners have allegedly sold portions of land in the restricted area to unsuspecting buyers for development.
Shama District Assembly
The District Physical Planning Officer of the Shama District Assembly, Mr Eugene Nyansafo, said more than a 15-feet buffer zone had been created on both sides of the pipelines to protect them against any human activity.
He said a survey carried out by the assembly towards developing a district spatial development framework, revealed that some unauthorised structures had been constructed by some residents within the buffer zone.
The situation, Mr Nyansafo said, posed danger to life and the gas pipeline that is to provide cheaper fuel for the thermal generation units.
He said the encroachment was more serious in the Dwomo community where people had erected huge buildings very close to the pipeline.
According to Mr Nyansafo, besides the unauthorised structures, the people in the area are also winning sand near the pipeline.
“This is a very dangerous threat to health and safety and we have alerted authorities such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Ghana Gas Company about what we have seen and expect them to act soon,” he said.
The District Development Planning Officer, Mr Habib Mohammed, told the Daily Graphic that the next line of action after reporting the development to the relevant institutions was to demolish the structures.
He said the developers had not been given building permits, stressing that the structures would eventually be demolished.