Environmental Impacts of Construction Aggregate Mining in the Greater Accra Region (A Case – Study of Amasaman in the Ga West Municipal)

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Aggregates production from mining operations contributes significantly to the Ghanaian economy. New construction and rehabilitation of infrastructure require aggregates at an economically acceptable cost. However, environmental impacts from construction aggregate mining yield a significant effect on nature. Aggregate mining in Ghana involves the extraction of unconsolidated sand, gravels, river stones, and crushed stones mainly for road and building construction. Stone quarrying activities like blasting, crushing and site clearance; sand and gravel mining activities like transportation, excavation, and site clearance are identified to have the most significantly severe environmental impacts. These activities give rise to atmospheric pollutants which degrade air quality and result in serious health consequences. Diesel fumes, fugitive dust blowing from construction aggregates, and increased traffic are identified as the major potential cumulative impacts from aggregate mining in Ghana. Health hazards arising from such impacts to mine workers, nearby residents, and the general public are identified as cold and catarrh, respiratory disorders, and asthma. Erosion of exposed areas, sedimentation associated with the use of heavy machinery, and loss of wildlife and plant habitats also identified to result in significantly severe ecosystem impacts, whilst noise, vibration and dust constitute significantly severe “public nuisance” effects. An exploratory study was conducted using structured questionnaire to identify the main environmental impacts of aggregate mining in Ghana, and measures to mitigate such impacts. The study used the random sampling method to select mine operators, nearby residents, and the general public for the study. Quantitative analyses were adopted for the environmental impacts and mitigating measures. Aggregate miners in Ghana have no major reclamation programmes for degraded areas, and such areas are currently being used as landfills sites, refuse dumps, or are left for natural regeneration. Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) which have the primary authority for regulating aggregate mining operations should issue local permits and require performance bonds or some other form of financial assurance in order to ensure the enforcement of hours of operation, noise and dust mitigation measures, and reclamation programmes.
A Thesis Submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Award Of Master of Science Degree in Construction Management, April-2013