Sunday, January 12, 2014

Beaches in Accra


Cape Coast Beach (Photo by Catherine McKelvey)
Cape Coast Beach (Photo by Catherine McKelvey)
"Tawala Beach"
Plus other beaches in Ghana (Bojo Beach and Cape Coast Beach) 
Catherine McKelvey

The first day of the new year, 2014, was upon us, and we were granted one day which was to be dedicated to rest and relaxation (a gift, and a precious one at that, given the nature of our New Year's Eve celebration.) A small group of us, that is, myself and a few of my colleagues, decided that it might be an appropriate time to take our first trip to one of the beaches in Accra. We were excited and anxious to catch some rays, relax, and enjoy each others company alongside the company of the sand and sea. The sight which lie ahead of at this point in time was certainly one I presume none of us expected or anticipated.

Until this day of our trip to Accra, a costal city, and Ghana, a country which borders the sea, we had only visited few beaches. We visited several beaches in Cape Coast, one being that of the Coconut Grove Resort, and one located outside of Accra, Bojo Beach

They were beautiful, picturesque, and for the most part, they were clean, tidy, and neatly kept. The sand on those beaches in Cape Coast was free from garbage and cigarette butts, and the water contained not a single plastic bottle or bag. This reality mirrored, quite accurately, the beaches many of us had visited in the states and other parts of the world. Our previous experiences coupled by our only exposure to Ghanaian beaches thus far had shielded our view with a veil.

Upon arriving at Tawala beach, it was evident that this particular beach was going to be different; plain and simple. The first thing I can so vividly recall was the stench we were greeted with. Normally, when I think of going to the beach, I associate it with a distinctly salty smell. Not here, however.

Immediately, we smelled an odorous mixture of garbage and waste. We walked out onto the beach and were in complete shock as to what we next saw. The sand was hardly sand. In fact, it was a sad heterogeneous mixture of 2 parts trash, and one part sand.  

The ocean, the beautiful sea, was so unbelievably littered; the sight nearly brought me to tears.  With each crashing wave, we could see about 50 or so black plastic bags floating in the water.  One of the girls in our group even discovered several syringes in the sand!  To increase our level of shock, a group of trash eating pigs paraded past, snorting and searching for more food (trash) to eat.  

Young men rode past on emaciated horses, asking us if we might like to ride.  The poor animals looked as if they were completely unable to support the weight of a human.  

The experience, as a whole, was inexplicably sad, devastating, and eye-opening.  Needless to say, I have a new found appreciation for clean and sanitary beaches!  I can also say that this experience opened my eyes to the necessity of education pertaining to conservation and preservation of the environment; land, air, and sea.  

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