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Opinions Sun, 26 Mar 2017

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Water everywhere but little to drink

Water, Water Everywhere Not Any Drop To Drink

Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner is as relevant to the Ghanaian situation as it was when the wide sea could not provide needed water to the sailors of the wrecked ship.

A few days ago, the world observed World Water Day and Ghana was not left out of the activities commemorating the important occasion.

For us in Ghana, it was auspicious, coming at a time when many water sources have been polluted by unbridled human activities.

Although many activities were held to commemorate the occasion, we think they did not match the level of pollution of our water bodies across the country, and besides, we could not vouch for the sincerity of the major stakeholders.

Pictures of the polluted water bodies and the related anguish suffered by dependants on these sources are heart-wrenching, yet the bad practices persist as though nobody cares.

We have, as a people, not been able to deal with those responsible for the dangerous state of affairs – our reactions limited mainly to talk-shops and lamentations of non-governmental organisations. Many factors account for the sorry state of our water bodies, some of them scary as in the case of galamsey (illegal mining).

Players in the galamsey industry are responsible for most of the pollution of the water bodies as evidenced by the now high mud content of major rivers in the country where they have pitched their camps.

Rivers Pra, Ankobra, Tano and the others have not been spared the illegal activities of Eldorado seekers; all of them important sources of potable water for thousands of people for hundreds of years.

The fortune hunters probe the beds of these rivers and in the event pollute them as they use assortment of dangerous chemicals with reckless abandon. We are aware that some of them are ready to take on whoever seeks to stop them from their hunting chores – with death not out of the equation.

The commemoration of World Water Day without a sincere commitment to ensuring that our water bodies are spared the activities of these young men and sometimes foreigners would yield zero dividends.

Water, when not wholesome, can have telling effect on our health. That is why anything that threatens its quality must be fought with all the might at the disposal of not only the state, but every citizen who drinks it and depends upon it for various life-enhancing chores.

We want to see more commitment from the state towards stopping the galamsey operatives lest we are reduced to drinking unwholesome water and denying the good health required for development.

We wish to also ask the relevant regulatory agencies with the task of ensuring that those who bag and sell water do so within the ambit of the law.

Today, the number of water bagging and bottling companies are beyond counting, yet not all of them have the logo of quality from the Ghana Standards Authority. That is our worry. There have been instances where consumers have detected foreign materials in sachet water. They only complain and that is the end because they do not know where to turn to. Even when they do, they are not sure of receiving the required attention and eventual action.

Water indeed we have in abundance not so however, of the required quality to ensure good health.

Columnist: dailyguideafrica.com

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