The coastal strip between the Volta River delta and the westernmost portion of Benin (West Africa Margin of Atlantic Basin) is highly populated (e.g., Lomé) due to migrations from inland areas. The coastal zone has proved to be very vulnerable because of the potential development of sometimes catastrophic events related to different and interacting causes, resulting in negative effects on natural ecosystems and socio-economic conditions. The main problem is the marked erosion of large coastal sectors with maximum retreat rates of the order of 5 m/year. The continuous loss of territory leads to a progressive impoverishment of activities and human resources and to the increase of geological risk factors. The coastal erosion is induced both by natural and anthropic causes and can be controlled only by means of prevention programs, detailed scientific studies and targeted technical interventions. The main erosional processes observed in the study area are triggered by the presence of the Lomé port and other human activities on the coastal strip, including the water extraction from the subsoil, which induces subsidence and the use of sediments as inert material. These elements, together with the reduction of the solid supply from Volta River (caused by the realization of the Akosombo dam) are among the main factors that control the medium and long-term evolution of the area. Also relative sea level changes, which take into account also tectonic and/or isostatic components, can contribute to the process. In order to have a real understanding of the coastal dynamics and evolution, it would be necessary to develop a scientific structure through the collaboration of all countries of the Bight of Benin affected by coastal erosion. The aim should be primarily to collect the interdisciplinary quantitative data necessary to develop a scientific knowledge background of the Bight of Benin coastal/ocean system. In conclusion, some proposals are presented to reduce the vulnerability of the coastal area as for example to plan surveys for the realization of appropriate coastal protection works, such as walls, revetments, groins, etc. A possible expansion of the port of Lomè is also considered. Proposals comprise the constitution of a Supranational Scientific Committee as a coordinating structure on erosion for both the study of phenomena and planning interventions.

Shoreline Changes and Coastal Erosion: The Case Study of the Coast of Togo (Bight of Benin, West Africa Margin)

Francesco Guerrera;Mario Tramontana;
2021-01-01

Abstract

The coastal strip between the Volta River delta and the westernmost portion of Benin (West Africa Margin of Atlantic Basin) is highly populated (e.g., Lomé) due to migrations from inland areas. The coastal zone has proved to be very vulnerable because of the potential development of sometimes catastrophic events related to different and interacting causes, resulting in negative effects on natural ecosystems and socio-economic conditions. The main problem is the marked erosion of large coastal sectors with maximum retreat rates of the order of 5 m/year. The continuous loss of territory leads to a progressive impoverishment of activities and human resources and to the increase of geological risk factors. The coastal erosion is induced both by natural and anthropic causes and can be controlled only by means of prevention programs, detailed scientific studies and targeted technical interventions. The main erosional processes observed in the study area are triggered by the presence of the Lomé port and other human activities on the coastal strip, including the water extraction from the subsoil, which induces subsidence and the use of sediments as inert material. These elements, together with the reduction of the solid supply from Volta River (caused by the realization of the Akosombo dam) are among the main factors that control the medium and long-term evolution of the area. Also relative sea level changes, which take into account also tectonic and/or isostatic components, can contribute to the process. In order to have a real understanding of the coastal dynamics and evolution, it would be necessary to develop a scientific structure through the collaboration of all countries of the Bight of Benin affected by coastal erosion. The aim should be primarily to collect the interdisciplinary quantitative data necessary to develop a scientific knowledge background of the Bight of Benin coastal/ocean system. In conclusion, some proposals are presented to reduce the vulnerability of the coastal area as for example to plan surveys for the realization of appropriate coastal protection works, such as walls, revetments, groins, etc. A possible expansion of the port of Lomè is also considered. Proposals comprise the constitution of a Supranational Scientific Committee as a coordinating structure on erosion for both the study of phenomena and planning interventions.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11576/2693664
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