Water Pollution In Ghana Shockingly Increasing In Recent Times

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Water Pollution In Ghana Shockingly Increasing In Recent Times.

Water is a basic necessity in life. It was once said that humans can hate anything but can never hate water. Yes! It is the reality. Research exhibits that no matter how humans love water and can not live without it, they engage in many activities that pollute the water they consume.

Water pollution is one of the world’s leading crises that has been talked about most. It is seen as a global situation that requires much attention. Many parts of the world will experience a massive shortage by the year 2050 if water pollution is not addressed with immediate effect.

Ghana is one of the developing West African countries that experience water pollution due to many factors. Some years ago, water pollution mostly occurred in the big cities in Ghana.
Today, it has spread across the length and breadth of the country. Even typical villages in Ghana experience water pollution in recent times.

Water Pollution
Water Pollution In Ghana Shockingly Increasing In Recent Times.

Almost all sources of consumable water in Ghana face a form of pollution. Water pollution occurs in rivers, streams, lakes and sometimes rain. Rivers and streams face a higher rate of pollution compared to other sources of water in the country.

In May 2017 the Water Resources Commission in Ghana stated that about 60% of our water bodies are polluted. Most of these water bodies are in the Southwestern part of the country where illegal mining goes on.

In this article, we will look at the main causes, effects and possible ways of preventing or controlling water pollution in Ghana.

Causes Of Water Pollution In Ghana:

1. Inadequate Law Enforcement:

Ghana has structured laws that deals with issues concerning sanitation but how to enforce them are always a big problem. Even the capital city Accra, which is the main administrative and trading centre faces sanitation issues.

One can talk about the attitude of urban settlers but if the laws are working, there would be an automatic fixing of attitudes. Since we have failed in enforcing rural and urban rules on sanitation, the rate of pollution increases daily in the country.

Water pollution has been a thing of the cities in Ghana over the years. Rivers and streams that pass through the big cities of Ghana undergo a form of pollution before entering the sea. We can not talk about surface water without looking at rainwater.

Research shows that rainwater in big cities especially industrial areas are not safe for drinking. This is as a result of the heavy pollution that takes place daily. Law enforcement on pollution that affects drinking water does not operate fully.

Law enforcement difficulties have contributed largely to water pollution in Ghana.

2. Sewage And Waste Water:

Sewage and wastewater discharge is a major factor affecting our water bodies. The release of solid and liquid waste into rivers and streams is one of the main causes of water pollution in Ghana. Ghana is notable for connecting sinks, showers and toilets to rivers and streams using pipes.

This allows a frequent discharge of solid and liquid waste into these rivers and streams hence making it unsafe for domestic or industrial use. This type of pollution has been our culture over the years since we overlook other alternatives of discharging domestic water.

Water Pollution
Drains connected to the River Dodowa in the Dodowa township. [Photo Credit: Albert O. Adormson]

The majority of rivers in the cities and towns are heavily polluted with plastic waste. A typical example is pollution that is happening to the River Odo in Madina and its surroundings. This river was one of the sources of bathing and cleaning water back in the day.

As of 2010, we use to fetch water from it for domestic activities, though we do not drink it. Children occasionally fished and swam in it. It was one of the memorable moments while growing up.

Currently, gutters and domestic waste discharge pipes are connected to it making it a big canal for dirty water instead of a river. This is how most of our rivers and streams are polluted daily.

3. Agricultural Practices:

Globally, about 1 billion people work in the agriculture sector. This is a very important sector in every country. Ghana has more than half of its population living in rural areas where farming is possible. Many of these settlers engage in farming as a means of living.

The population growth is rapid and demand for agriculture products has increased over the years. The high demand for food crops has lead to a change in farming methods to meet the demands. It has gradually transformed from organic farming to inorganic farming. The use of agrochemicals has become the norm of the day. This is to increase farm productivity.

The use of these chemicals in crop farming does not affect only the living organisms in the soil but pollutes our water bodies. Many farmlands in Ghana are along the banks of rivers or a few kilometres from a river or stream. Chemicals that are used for crop farming are absorbed into the soil and washed away into nearby rivers, lakes and streams when it rains.

Not only crop farming pollutes the water bodies but fishing as well. The use of chemicals like DDT to fish in water bodies pollutes them. This is done to increase harvest because of the high demand in the local markets.

4. Radioactive Substance:

The release of radioactive substances into our water bodies are the major cause of water pollution in Ghana. Chemicals used in mining minerals in water destroys the water and makes it unsafe for domestic or industrial purposes.

Water Pollution In Ghana Shockingly Increasing In Recent Times
River destroyed because of illegal mining in the Western Region of Ghana. [Photo Credit: Kojo Oppong Nkrumah]

Major sources of water in the Western Region of Ghana has been destroyed through mining activities. River Pra, River Daboase and River Ankobra are now unsafe for consumption because of illegal mining activities. River Birim in the Eastern Region is also polluted heavily through mining activities.

The release of gases from nuclear power plants into the atmosphere influences the quality of rainfall. This has made rainwater unsafe for human and animal consumption. Also, testing of nuclear weapons by the security services contribute to the pollution of water bodies.

Effects Of Water Pollution In Ghana:

Water pollution has a lot of negative effects. We shall discuss its effects on human health and the environment.

A. Human Health:

According to The Lancet, water pollution killed 1.8 million people globally in 2015. The environmental pollution research website also stated that about 1 billion people in the world fall sick because of water pollution every year. Ghana is not an exception in any of these cases.

Ghana records a huge number of deaths and diseases caused by water pollution every year. Dysentery, hepatitis A, cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, and polio are all diseases that are caused by water pollution. The state spends more on these health issues yearly causing a retard in the health sector development.

B. Environmental Effects:

Water pollution affects the environment in many ways. We shall discuss the main destruction water pollution causes on the environment.

Water pollution destroys aquatic life. There is a great reduction in harvest when it comes to aquaculture because of unhealthy water for marine life. A lot of fish in water bodies have died and some breeds of fish are getting deceased.

Water Pollution In Ghana Shockingly Increasing In Recent Times
Dead fishes at the shore. [Photo Credit:]

There will be an immense shortage of drinking water shortly if water pollution is not given the necessary attention. Shortage of water is happening in some parts of the country already. It has not been publicised because it is not drastic.

Rainwater is now considered unsafe in many parts of the country due to heavy pollution. There is a reduction in crop production because of the quality of rain in recent times. Surface water for irrigation is also unsafe because it is polluted by other human activities.

Suggestion Of Possible Solutions For Water Pollution:

I. Reduction of plastic consumption and recycling of plastic waste when possible.

II. We should practice proper disposing culture. Dispose of chemicals, cleaners, oils and non-biodegradable items properly to prevent them from going into drains.

III. Avoid connecting human waste to drains that lead to water bodies. Using alternative disposing methods to dispose of waste. Human waste can be used to generate biogas for many purposes.

IV. Practising maintenance culture. Maintaining automobile machines to avoid leaking oil and coolant into the atmosphere which ends up in water bodies.

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