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Streams are under threat in Ho

Fri, 3 Jun 2011 Source: GNA

Ho, June 03, GNA - Growing up as a child in Ho, the Volta Regional Capital, some of the games I and my friends enjoyed most were to go on crab hunting expeditions, fishing and swimming in streams and rivers in the suburbs.

It was refreshing observing the beautiful and gentle flow of the cool waters of those streams and rivers while trying to locate their sources. Sometimes, it was all we did during vacations, skipping farming and suspending football matches for river games. The girls were not left out of the fun in those days.

One of the typical games was plucking a leaf and leaving it on the stream while you observed how it meandered downstream, sometimes with small fishes racing for it. Some adults occasionally trooped to the streams and rivers with their own kind of games - swimming and doing some 93galamsey" type of fishing. Decades down the lane, many children in Ho now do not know what rivers or streams are. Some might have read about rivers and seen their pictures i= n but have never seen them in real life. They simply do not know how pleasurable it is to bathe or swim in a river or stream. The adorable streams located in almost every suburb providing refreshin= g ecosystem are no more. I could remember those days, our mates and relatives..., Yvonne, Sena and Garo in Accra and other cities sometimes cried and pleaded to be brough= t to Ho for vacation so they could enjoy the ecosystem and to play the kind o= f games we were playing in the streams.

Dams, wells and streams, which served as major sources of drinking water and were regarded as very essential commodities revered by the people, are no more including those considered as 93spiritual" water bodies. Now, the few surviving streams which continue to serve some hundreds of people downstream and are protected by big trees are under serious threat b= y activities of some operators in the Batik, Tie and Dye business. One such stream is the Agblenudome Stream located between the Regional Veterinary office and the Redeem Evangel Church in Ho-Dome. The activities of Batik, Tie and Dye operators in the community have changed the colour and taste of the 93Agblenudome Stream," a pollution w= hich could cause a major disaster to people downstream who depend on the Stream for their survival.

They usually discharge waste chemicals used in the production of Batik= , Tie and Dye into the Stream releasing a very pungent smell. These chemicals have destroyed the beauty of the environment and wiped out the flora and fauna in and around the Stream. This has caused other people to dispose solid wastes into the Stream. At Fiave in the Hofedo Electoral Area the colour of another popular stream has been changed into blue-black. The colour changes from green, blu= e and to black. The pollution of the stream in the area had affected wells constructed along the Stream. During the dry season, the colour of water in the wells changes into the colour of chemicals used in making the Batik, Tie and Dye. Residents very close to the stream also have the colour of their clothes on drying lines changed to the colours of the chemicals.

Togbe Akliku Ahorney, the Regional Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said the practice was wrong and that his outfit ha= d advised the operators against disposing chemical wastes into the streams. The chemicals have discoloured the land along the streams and even the immediate working environments where the Batik, Tie and Dye are produced as the chemicals are sometimes discharged in the yard. It is an eyesore. It was not surprising when Kingsley, an Agriculture Extension Officer, said the discoloured land areas could hardly support any plant growth and also described the streams as "dead". But must that be all? Certainly no, we all can't look on while few people destroy the gift of nature, especially knowing the importance of streams and rivers. The time to revive streams and rivers is now. Traditional authorities, opinion leaders and the EPA must move in now to stop the illegal activities of people in the Batik, Tie and Dye business. They must live and allow others too to live. The streams must be cleared of all solid waste and protected with trees to enhance the ecosystem and tourism potentials.

Columnist: GNA