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28.05.2007 General News

NGO attacks contractors for destroying water-bodies

By The Ghanaian Times

Friends of Rivers and Water Bodies (FRWB), an environmental non-governmental organisaton, has expressed concern over the wanton destruction of water bodies along the country's major roads by road contractors.

It noted that most of the rivers and other water bodies dotted along the roads had either dried up or were fast drying up due largely to the practice of road contractors dumping laterite and other materials into them during their operations.

In some cases, the NGO said, while executing their normal contracts, the contractors are simultaneously contracted by individuals mainly private developers to fill water-ways and re-claim swampy and flood-prone areas along the roads for development purposes.

Nana Kwabena Dwomoh-Sarpong, president of FRWB, told newsmen at the weekend that a good number of waterways along the major roads countrywide have been reclaimed and developed into petrol filling stations, garages, car washing bays, shops and entertainment spots.

The NGO, he said, was deeply worried over the destructive practice and its obvious disastrous effects on the environment, more especially in the wake of the climate change in the country.

Nana Dwomoh-Sarpong claimed that though the flagrant destruction of rivers and water bodies along the roads was being done on a daily basis and in the full view of the District Assemblies, Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose duty it is to check the situation, they all surprisingly appear incapable of doing so.

"It is the view and belief of FRWB that, the country's current energy crisis arising largely from the low level of water in the Akosombo Dam, must serve as an ample lesson to us, as a people to protect our water bodies and the environment in general," he stated.

Nana Dwomoh-Sarpong referred to the present general concerns over the wanton abuse of the environment sheltering the White and Black Volta Rivers as well as other water bodies feeding the Volta Lake, as a contributory factor to the energy crisis and indicated that if FRWB's persistent warning in the past had been taken seriously, "the situation would perhaps not be the same today."

"The country's network of small rivers and streams in addition to the valleys and slopes naturally harvest rain-water which go to swell up the major rivers and eventually flow into our dams for hydro-power generation and agricultural purposes. So dumping laterite and other materials into them means blocking the free flow of water into the dams," he noted.

Calling for the active support of all citizens towards environmental protection, Nana Dwomoh-Sarpong pointed out that it would be wrong for any person to consider environmental protection and conservation as purely the responsibility of the government.

"Our actions and inactions directly or indirectly contribute to environmental degradation. So it's a case of each and every one of us being either part of the environmental problem or part of the solution," Nana Kwabena Dwomoh-Sarpong declared.

He also urged Ghanaians to adopt the practice of harvesting rainwater for domestic and other purposes, especially in these times of inadequate supply of potable water countrywide.

Source: The Ghanaian Times