FoodFirst Information and
Action Network, Ghana
(FIAN), an International Human Rights Organization, has accused Anglogold Ashanti Iduapriem of discharging raw sewage from the company's bungalows into water bodies at Teberebie, a farming community in the Western Region and its surrounding villages.
Mr. Mike Anane, Co-ordinator of FIAN, Ghana said based on reports received from people of Teberebie, they organized international fact finding team to the area and samples of the discharge was taken to Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Water research Institute for analysis.
Other villages affected include Mile 5, Mile 6 and Mile 7.
He said the analytical report indicated that the effluents from the pipes at Mile 5 bungalows and Mile 6 bungalows and offices were not bacteriologically safe to be discharged into the environment as they are heavily contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and possibly other micro-organisms.
Mr. Anane said the report also stated that it was important for those effluents to receive pre-treatment before being discharged into the environment and that the current state could only be used to irrigate crops, sports fields, public parks and trees but not crops likely to be eaten uncooked.
He said that action on the part of the company violated the right to water of the communities that relied on the water resources in the area and “we are calling on the government to stop the irresponsible gold mining operations of Anglogold Ashanti Iduapriem. “We are also calling on the Government to start an independent investigation into the increasing concerns expressed by the people of Teberebie and its surrounding villages and also conduct an environmental audit to enable the people know how the mine has impacted their water bodies,” he said.
He said another case was the dumping of waste rocks close to the community and the dust that it generated posed grave consequences for the health of communities in the area particularly Teberebie. “The indiscriminate open air dumping of heaps of waste rock by Anglogold and their subsequent exposure to atmospheric conditions pose a potential problem. The possibility of acid drainage in the area and its impact on the quality of both groundwater and surface water is indeed disturbing,” he added.
Mr. Anane said Article 11 of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights, which Ghana is a signatory enjoined all States parties to recognize the rights of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and family, including adequate food, clothing and housing and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.
“FIAN is particularly concerned about the apparent violations of the human rights to food and water and to health. These rights are guaranteed in the international Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights which was signed by Ghana in the year 2000.
“As a signatory to this covenant, the Ghana government is obliged under the international law to protect these rights and to ensure an adequate standard of living for people affected by Iduapriem's mining operations and also hold Anglogold Ashanti Iduapriem for violating these rights,” he added.
According to him government has to act according to its obligation under the international law to protect the rights of the residents of Teberebie and to enforce environmental regulations regarding gold mining.