Opinions Sun, 13 Jan 2013

Halt The Poisoning Of The Pra River Now

By Kofi Thompson

As a society we must think more intelligently and thoughtfully about protecting the natural environment in Ghana.

If we fail to do so at a time of global climate change, it will have a detrimental effect on the quality of life of millions in Ghana.

There ought to be the political will to tackle environmental degradation in Ghana comprehensively - in order to preserve what remains of our natural heritage countrywide.

Throughout our nation, rivers and streams across a vast swathe of the Ghanaian countryside, are being poisoned by the activities of illegal gold miners - who dump heavy metals and dangerous chemicals into them with reckless abandon.

Today, as we speak, the Pra River, water from which millions of the inhabitants of towns and villages in areas of the Western Region through which it flows depend on for their drinking-water supply, is slowly being poisoned.

That important river is being made unwholesome as a result of the indiscriminate dumping into it of heavy metals and poisonous chemicals, by the thousands of illegal gold miners now working along its banks: and some of who are said to be armed.

In fact, in the Western Region's two biggest cities, the capital Takoradi and its twin Sekondi, the Ghana Water Company (GWCL) has had to introduce rationing of treated water - and the inconvenience that that entails, for thousands of households in both cities: which now get water either once or twice weekly.

Surely, the unlawful activities of the illegal gold miners along the banks of the Pra River ought to be brought to an end quickly - if they are making it next to impossible for the GWCL to continue producing treated water for distribution to millions of consumers in the Western Region?

It is totally unacceptable that the GWCL's intake-points at Daboase and Bosomase in the Mpohor Wassa East District have been allowed to be more or less blocked by illegal gold miners.

In as far as they affect the operations of the GWCL in the Western Region, the District Security Councils' of Mpohor Wassa East District and Shama District, should collaborate with the Regional Security Council of the Western Region, to ensure that the security agencies bring the destructive activities of the illegal gold miners along the Pra River to an end.

If the citizens of cities and towns in our country, such as those of Takoradi, Ghana's oil industry's capital, do not have a regular supply of treated drinking-water, what sort of message does that send to the world about our homeland Ghana?

Tel: 027 745 3109.

Email: peakofi.thompson@gmail.com.
Columnist: Thompson, Kofi