Residents of Ayimensah-Kweiman in the Ga East Municipal District of the Greater Accra Region have kicked against the construction of a proposed commercialized mortuary and a cemetery by the enterprise group owned by finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta.
The 12-acre land earlier earmarked for the construction of an estate for accommodation purposes was recently converted into the construction of a cemetery and a mortuary facility.
Residents say checks from the district assembly indicate that the area is zoned as a residential area. They claim the facility if constructed will pollute the water supply to over 40,000 residents at Ayi Mensah, Kumabaya, Kweiman, Danfa and Otinibi.
The area is located close to the Aburi mountain in the Eastern Region and rainwater from the mountain flows through these areas and settlers as a water table for water supply system to the communities.
At a residents association meeting a week ago, residents kicked against the move and questioned why a cemetery and mortuary should be allowed to be constructed in the middle of town.
They were furious and opined that it was a deliberate move by the Finance Minister Mr. Ken Ofori Atta, to destroy a serene environment and vowed to resist any attempt to site such a facility in the area.
At a media engagement, Vice Chairman of the association Mr. Prince Acheampong, said there is no supply from Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) to the aforementioned communities. He added that residents rely solely on boreholes and a community water project at Kweiman which all draws water from underground.
They express that the underground water may be polluted by chemicals and decomposed dead bodies at the facility.
"A study of the place indicates that the water flows from the mountain downhill underground so there is a huge water table that runs from the mountain and supply Ayi Mensah, Kweiman, Danfa, Otinibi.
“Now, the water runs right where the cemetery is, so if we allow the cemetery or a mortuary then the water that we are today using in our homes will be polluted and the water project at Kweiman which supplies a lot of houses will also be polluted because to bury somebody the water table is there, the water just wash the corpses, it ends up in our boreholes, it ends up at the water project at Kweiman and the water will be polluted.
"Among the concerns raised, included loss of serene environment, noise pollution by the ambulances and mourners, health implications and trauma on residents especially children due to the presence of corpses in the area," he stated.
He added that leaders of the association have called for calm among residents to allow engagement and dialogue among government authorities to resolve the matter.
The traditional authority in the area although had earlier agreed for the project to go ahead, rescinded its decision after they were enlightened on the implications on community members if a mortuary combined with a cemetery is sited in a residential zone.
According to the association, further checks at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that the enterprise group had approached its office for an EPA operating permit and was directed to the district assembly.