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22.05.2009 Health

Galamsey activities pose danger to water treatment plant

By gna
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Koforidua, May 22, GNA - Illegal Gold mining activities popularly known as 'galamsey' on the Asikam-Kyebi road is posing a great danger to the water treatment plant in the area.

If the activities of the galamsey operators are not checked, the Ghana Water Company (GWC) would be compelled to shut down the treatment plants at Kyebi, Bunso and Anyinam.

Mr Moses Painstil, Eastern Regional Quality Control Manager of the GWC, said the high level of pollution as a result of miners washing mineral bearing rocks into the river after excavation pose a great danger to residents who rely on the pipe water.

He was interacting with Mr Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, Eastern Regional Minister, during his visit to the Koforidua water project and the offices of the GWC on Friday.

Mr Painstil said the fluoride content in the water which was supposed to be 1.5 for human consumption had risen to 2.3 standards, describing the situation as unacceptable and dangerous to humans as far as dental health was concerned.

He said the increment in the fluoride content of the water cannot be treated once it found its way into the water, making the situation more dangerous.

According to Mr Painstil, another mineral found in the water which was equally dangerous was mercury.

This, he said, was in minute quantity and that the situation was being monitored.

He said currently the company spent more than the estimated amount of money to treat the water, because at times the pollution became so high that it had to pump away all the 3,000 gallons of treated water from the three plants to ensure consumers safety.

Mr Painstil further hinted that their investigations had revealed that the miners migrated from the Akwatia area claiming that the diamond business was going down and therefore had to resort to gold mining which was mostly found in areas close to rivers.

According to him, the miners have been trying to divert the course of the river to suit their operations which, he said, would be at a great cost to the GWC, because the company would have to transfer machines to meet the diverted course of the river for the treatment of water for the people.

He therefore made a passionate appeal to the Minister to as a matter of urgency use his good office to halt the activities of the miners.

Mr Ofosu-Ampofo who was alarmed by the information said it was disheartening to know that people for their own selfish interest, pollute water bodies without thinking of the negative consequences of their actions.

He said government was interested in providing the people with clean water and not water that would affect their health and therefore would not sit down unconcerned for a few people to sabotage that effort.

The Regional Minister therefore assured the GWC that as a matter of urgency he would ensure that the illegal miners were flushed out from the area to enable the people to have potable water.

GNA

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