We Are Sitting On Time Bomb; Sanitation Minister On Water Destruction

The Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Hon Freda Prempeh, is certain Ghana is bound to import water as predicted by experts if adequate and effective measures are not put in place to quell the destruction of water bodies in the country.

She asserts that the country is sitting on a time bomb with the massive destruction caused to water bodies by activities of sand winning and illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.

According to her, the turbidity levels of some water bodies have hit the thousand mark as against the acceptable 5 Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU).

The development, she said, has increased the Ghana Water Company Limited’s operational cost of processing water since it has had to increase the quantity of chemicals used in treating water for production – mainly due to high turbidity levels.

Sand Winning
During a courtesy call at the Manhyia Palace on Friday, October 13, 2023, the Minister said the combined effect of pollution specifically by sand winning was posing dire consequences.

She said the danger with which sand winning in the country was contributing to water destruction cannot be compared to illegal gold mining which has the attention of the public.

She said there must be collaboration between stakeholders including chiefs to put an end to the menace.

Construction Of Toilet Facilities
She further told His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II that her Ministry had constructed 38 out of the 129 toilet facilities for schools at Ejisu, Suame and Kwadaso.

She assured that the rest will be completed by end of the year.

Additionally, she said 26,000 of 42,000 toilet facilities have been constructed across the country with funding from the World Bank.

These measures, she said have reduced open defecation which has gone a long way to also reduce cholera infections in the country.

The Minister said measures are in place to increase effective campaign for attitudinal change towards hygiene in various communities in collaboration with the Local Government and Decentralisation.

If the advocacy fails, she disclosed, there will be the reintroduction of fines and the activities of town councils.

Asafo Sewage
She also said her major focus was to rehabilitate the Asafo Swage System.

She said pipelines connected to the sewage system are choked and efforts are underway to desilt it immediately ahead of the expansion plans to cover 500 households and 29 institutions with a funding secured from the World Bank.

Meanwhile, she said the Ministry under her watch will uphold maintenance culture for constructed facilities.

Waste Management
The King of the Asante Kingdom on his part decried the level of indiscriminate waste disposal whose management costs the country $290 million annually and called for intensive education and effective by-laws to ensure attitudinal change.

He said the level of poor hygiene goes a long way to affect the health of the citizens.

He urged the Ministry to also focus on the constructions in water ways with a collaboration with the Ministry of Works and Housing.

His Majesty also assured her of the requisite support in dealing with water pollution. He promised to convene a meeting between the traditional authorities and the Ministry in the quest for effective means to address water pollution- which he said chiefs play a role in.

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