Implications of sand mining on the environment and livelihoods in Brong Ahafo Region

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The relevance of sand in undertaking any developmental project is immeasurable. Every year, huge volumes of sand are mined from various places as raw materials for building projects. This study examined the effects of sand mining on the environment and livelihoods of people in some selected communities in Brong Ahafo Region. In this research, primary data from three districts in the region namely; Sunyani West District; Wenchi and Techiman Municipalities were used. Two hundred (200) respondents were chosen using the systematic, convenience and purposive sampling techniques. Data from the respondents were collected using field observations, questionnaires and interviews. The quantitative data were analysed using some tools of Statistical Product for Service Solutions (SPSS, version 20) such as Chi-square and Correlation. The qualitative data were analysed using content and thematic analysis of events as they unfolded in the field. The study found that, primarily unemployment influenced people into sand mining. Also, very high profits and regular income from the sales of sand were found to be some of the positive effects of sand mining on livelihoods. In addition, sand mining was found to have negative effects on livelihoods through destructions caused to vegetation cover and water bodies. The study further revealed the failure of the local authorities in protecting the environment and other livelihood activities from the operations of the sand miners. The study concludes that, although sand mining supports the livelihoods of some people, it also has the capacity of degrading the environment and subverting the livelihoods of farmers. The study recommends that, sand mining by-laws be established and enforced by all the assemblies. Such a move could prevent the sand miners from causing unwarranted destructions to farmlands, vegetation and water bodies. Again, sand mining sites should be properly demarcated by the local authorities to ensure that, environmental impact assessments are done on such lands prior to mining the sand.  
A thesis submitted to the Department of Geography and Rural Development, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Philosophy in Geography and Rural Development,