Rising Spate Of Drowning On Volta River

By Daily Guide
Editorial Rising Spate Of Drowning On Volta River

We cannot afford to have river accidents adding to the carnage on our highways. There is too much bloodshed on our roads and to have our rivers doing same will be too much for us to bear.

Canoe transportation along the Volta River plays an important role and given the rate at which such accidents do occur, we cannot be wrong to isolate the lack of regulations on how this mode of movement is undertaken.

With the proneness of canoes on the river to accidents, regulations should be enacted to save lives and property. A few months ago, some kids drowned on the river and it broke the hearts of many who read the story.

Since then, a couple or more such accidents have occurred, statistics which underscore the importance of state action.

It is instructive to note that the canoe was said to have overloaded its passengers, 11 instead of 6. This is clear indication that it is normal for canoes plying the river to be overloaded by their operators. Overloaded canoes would easily capsize, and this is a fact which is not lost on the operators who want to make quick money with no regard for safety.

We know that the relevant assemblies are not primed for such activity because the task is specialised and requires a special expertise and logistics, which are surely not available at the moment.

There appears to be a free range operation of boats on the river for a long time and so introducing safety measures would be met with resistance. Unfortunately, our Marine Police cannot under the current circumstances be able to add this operation to our full plate in the Western Region and elsewhere unless a special preparation is made for it.

Even children in their teens paddle their way on the river with no eyebrows raised in protest.

Should the current regime continue, we cannot vouch for an end to the incidences of canoes capsizing on the river. There is one demand we can ask of the authorities in places where canoe transportation is prevailing, and that is the wearing of life jacket. This we can find a way of encouraging the people to do whenever they are travelling along the river on canoes.

The fishermen, canoe owners and operators should be engaged with the traditional authorities in attendance on the importance of life jackets and also overloading.

During such engagements, statistics of the drowned should be presented to them with a view of pushing for the stakeholders to think about the importance of regulations on the operation of especially commercial passenger canoes.

A national conversation should be started so the spate of drowning of sometime children can be stopped. In the long run, government should through the relevant agency design a regulatory regime of safety measures for canoe operation on the Volta River.