An unusual number of dead marine mammals have been washing ashore in Western Ghana since 2009. Friends of the Nation and other local groups have reported the beached whales to the government and the local EPA office. The government has not investigated and the cause of the deaths remains a mystery. Locals point out that dead whales started appearing in 2009, coinciding with offshore drilling. Many suspect a connection between the whale deaths and Ghana’s oil industry, but without any studies people can only speculate.
Two years ago I wrote about Ghana’s oil industry for the Center for Public Integrity and included information on whale deaths:
In Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana’s “Oil City,” activists from Friends of the Nation work with the communities closest to offshore drilling operations. In two years of monitoring on behalf of local residents, the group’s Kyei Yamoah, has noted an increase in whale deaths. “A whale washed ashore in October, bringing the total number of dead whales on our beaches since late 2009 to eight,” Yamoah said.
I read an interesting post in the New York Times Green blog about the dolphin die-off in the Gulf of Mexico. Since early 2010 dead dolphins have been washing ashore at an alarming rate and among the many possible explanations for the 600 dead dolphins is — of course — the BP oil spill. According to the article, which I’m pasting below, scientists are not yet able to determine the cause of the die-off.
This made me think of the recent rash of beached dead whales in Ghana, which, according to the Ghana EPA, is unrelated to the country’s oil activities. I wonder how the Ghana EPA was able to make such a determination so quickly. The New York Times piece gives the impression that determining the exact cause of death of these beached mammals is quite complicated.