Takoradi,- Nana Yaw Barnie, the Western Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), has bemoaned the increasing cost of treating water in the region due to illegal mining activities, otherwise known as ‘galamsey’.
He said water, especially from the Bonsa River in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, had been very difficult to treat due to the galamsey.
He said the quality of the water at the Daboase Head Works and the other treatment plants in the region had deteriorated and the turbidity required additional treatment, which came at a high cost to the company.
“For instance, our machines often break down, which takes days to be fixed and extra cost in maintaining it because we have to import technicians from Tema,” he said.
“We also sometimes use forty bags of Aluminum Oxynitride (alon) instead of ten bags to treat the water to make it safe for consumption due to the level of pollution,” he said.
Nana Barnie, who made this known in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said the poor quality of water had necessitated an increase in the quantity of chemicals required to treat it.
He said that had increased the cost of production and lowered the quantity of water produced, which had in recent times resulted in water rationing in some parts of the region.
‘‘Due to the increasing degree of pollution of the rivers and the strain on our water treatment plants, we experience regular breakdowns, which call for regular repair and maintenance, hence the increase in cost of production,” he said.
Nana Barnie contended that the country might run into water shortage in the nearest future if illegal mining activities were not clamped down, as a time may come when the water required for treatment would be untreatable for human consumption.
He expressed the optimism that the President’s recent Consultative Dialogue on the Small Scale Mining Sector would bring finality in resolving the galamsey menace.
Nana Barnie called on the perpetrators of the galamsey activities to desist from it and all stakeholders in the fight against galamsey not to seek their own interest but demonstrate commitment to the course and patriotism to the nation.
He allayed the fears that though the quantity of chemicals for treating the water had increased, it had no negative effect on people’s health when consumed since they had quality assurance control mechanisms that checked the quality of the water before distribution.
However, Dr Sylvester Fameyeh, the Senior Medical Officer at the Holy Child Catholic Hospital, when contacted on the increase in the chemical for treatment, said the excessive intake of Aluminum Oxynitride could generate toxics which may be harmful to the body.
He said though they could not measure the amount of the chemical used in treating the water to ascertain whether it was within the normal range, there was the need to measure the quantity to ensure public safety to avoid long term effects like kidney diseases.
Mr Cark Fiati, the Director for Natural Resources at the Environmental Protection Agency, recently advised the Government to bring the activities of illegal miners under control without which Ghana would soon begin importing water.
Source: Ghana News Agency